Did I miss a memo? English

I spoke to an acquaintance just the other day. We don’t see each other that often, and we don’t really have anything in common except for a mutual friend… but I like the dude and we usually have fun together. He told me about the weirdest thing – that there is talk about banning something that’s supposedly racist.

 

Now while I’m not really prone to enjoy censorship of any kind, some motivations I can understand even if I don’t agree with them. But this one really struck a nerve with me. He told me that there were plans consisting of banning the singing of the national anthem during school ceremonies. Because it’s apparently racist. Okay, let’s go over that again:

They are talking about banning the national anthem. Because it’s racist. AS A PART OF A CEREMONY.

Come the fuck on. Are you serious? Sure, I understand that the singing of the national anthem might be up for some controversy when gatherings of nazis or the like sing it in obvious contempt of people who aren’t quite a Swedish as they are, but… wouldn’t Twinkle Twinkle Little Star be just as upsetting when sung by those mental unfortunates? Shouldn’t it come down to the intent and the context of when something is done when it comes to essentially limiting free speech (well, ok, song..) like this? Fucking hell… what’s wrong with people?

While I didn’t express this at once to him, seeing as he is about as black as the inside of a coal basket in the middle of a moonless night… I still felt it needed to be said. I gently poked and prodded him about his feeling about it all, to see where he landed on the issue. Turns out he felt much the same as myself, and that he’d never felt that the national anthem being sung had caused him to feel slighted as a person of color. This leads me to my next pet peeve.

Why are people so concerned about offending people through language? First off, I want to set people straight about a few things. The first thing is freedom of speech and the second is freedom of religion. Freedom of speech gives you the right to express your thoughts and ideas without anyone censoring you – but it does not say that you are free to express yourself unopposed and without consequence. You are entitled to your opinion, but if you voice it publicly you also have to live with the fact that the other people around you might not like it… and freedom of speech gives them the right to tell you that. Action -> Reaction. Simple.

The same thing with religion. You are free to feel and believe whatever you like. No matter if it’s Jesus Christ Superstar, The Holy Prophet Mohammed or some Warlord from Outer Space. It’s up to you. However, you are not entitled to live your lives unopposed. Tying back in with freedom of speech, if you tell me about your God who Saved you, I still have the right to say what I feel about it. That it’s a load of bullshit. Nicely wrapped, rosey-smelling bullshit. But at the end of the day – shit is still shit. To me. If it works for you, fine… but you don’t automatically earn respect just because of your faith.

Take those damn drawings of Mohammed published in Denmark. Is that freedom of speech? Yes. Is it his right to publish them? Well, yes. Is it respectful? No, most certainly not. That leads me to two conclusions:

1. Get over this whole offended-thing. It’s getting old fast, and it wasn’t really cool in the first place.. and:
2. Just because you CAN say something, it’s not always necessary to do so.

“What offends me might not offend you…. and you want to make laws about this?” – Steve Hughes 

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