Living in an offended generation

Megan Ferrando: Editor in Chief

Well young college folks, how will we be remembered as a generation? We are the millennials, the internet-obsessed, the wander lusting souls, the free-spirited, the open-minded. Oh, and the easily offended. 

We are the generation where everything is personal. Everything is a bad case of microaggression. As Ms. Norbury of “Mean Girls” would probably tell us, “Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by the world.” Slowly every millennials hand would creep into the air. And the middle aged and older folks’ hands would likely jump up enthusiastically. Despite our label as the “easily offended,” this is not just an issue of our generation. 

Today, especially in the past year, society has politely asked everyone to walk on eggshells. Society has told the person across from them, “It’s not me, it’s you.” 

With the continuously growing increase of social media, it is not difficult to find something that is offensive. In fact, it seems people have even been on the hunt for a reason to cry victim. To glance at the bigger issues lately, can I remind anyone of the controversies over the confederate flag and the confederate-related monuments around New Orleans? These iconic parts of history have been around for years and years. In fact, many of the monuments in New Orleans were erected between 1884 and 1915. That’s a long time.

Yet, suddenly they must be taken down. Suddenly they are offensive. Before anyone rips this page up because they don’t care about reading a “basic white girl’s” opinion regarding issues that go all the way back to race and history, let me tell you that I understand why people want these statues taken down. Many view these statues as a way of honoring white men who supported slavery during the Civil War. Just as someone would not want a statue of Hitler erected, others feel displaying a statue of these men is supporting something we are obviously against. 

However, that is not how I view it. Yes, some of these men represented in the statues may have even been slave owners, but that does not mean the statue was erected to support slavery. It is quite obvious, if I can speak for the majority of Americans, that we believe slavery is wrong. I view the statues simply as a part of New Orleans history. Taking the statues down, which is what was voted to happen, does not erase all the history the city holds. Instead, it can stand as a reminder of how far we have come as a people.

Our offense does not begin and end with monuments and flags however. People have been finding offense over remarks made my celebrities, little jibes made by a Facebook friend, comments made over dinner and the list continues. In a way, overreaction over every remark that we heartily disagree with, especially if it is made by a journalist, TV newscaster or other can diminish one’s freedom of speech. Yes, I am appalled by some of the comments or jokes people can make about racism or sexism, and more, but we are in America where people have a right to speak what is on their mind. If a newscaster fears the loss of his job if he speaks his true feelings, then where is the freedom of speech in that?

I don’t think this means we should ignore something when a testy comment is made, but we should pick and choose our battles. 

Was the offensive comment made by a singer and will it quickly blow over next week? If so, let it stand as representation that people view things differently and stop listening to their music. Was the offensive comment made by our current president? Okay, that one needs some attention. 

As the generation living in a world where huge, historical movements are taking place, aka, the legalization of same-sex marriage and having our first black president to name a couple, we will be reading about and talking about these movements for generations on. Our generation will be discussed in history books. What do we want them to say about us? Let’s take a breath now and let it not be the generation who was easily offended. 

Decide what you want to fight for, stand up for yourself and your friends, but don’t let every comment, every song and every historical icon become a personal attack that you must fight against. 

I find it so important to be aware of other cultures and be nonjudgmental towards people we deem “different,” but it is equally important to be aware of the fact that people’s backgrounds often build up their personal views which are sometimes offensive. For this reason, hear what they say with a grain of salt, politely share your view and move on.