Don’t take offence where none is meant
IT SEEMS that almost every other day someone is pilloried for a remark, a gesture or a look that is perceived as a slight. How did we all become so quick to take offence? Most fair-minded people don’t like to see others humiliated, but many are starting to feel they must monitor their thoughts and words very carefully before speaking, for fear of being misinterpreted. Beware Orwell’s Thought Police.
I’m not talking about deliberate put-downs intended to make someone feel inferior because they are a particular colour or gender or don’t appear to fit in, in some way.
The other day I tuned into a show where news of a fun-run for a children’s hospice was being discussed.
To inject a bit of humour into the event, the fathers of the youngsters with life-threatening conditions were going to dress up as women.
Nothing to offend anyone there? Well, yes, actually.
The fundraisers were being investigated by police as a hate crime, having been reported by an individual (not Transsexual Support group Chrysalis as first reported) which said the fathers were ridiculing people like themselves.
Yes, life is complex for Transsexuals, as I discovered many years ago after interviewing Simone who lived in Hayes and wanted to highlight their problems by telling her story.
But differences are now celebrated, so it is particularly sad that slights are sometimes being seen where maybe they don’t exist.
Daughters love to see their dads dress up. Somewhere I have a pic of Mr F after FJ* passed a rainy afternoon making him look hideous with a funny hat, lipstick and a dab of blusher on his beard.
My great-grandmother sang in the music hall on the same bill as Vesta Tilley who dressed up as a man, and we all love panto dames at Christmas. No offence intended. None taken.
Perhaps we all need to ditch inflated pride along with the prejudice. Life’s not one big ‘selfie’. The fathers of these desperately ill children did not have a lot to laugh about, so it seemed particularly thoughtless to have targeted them.
In the admirable quest for fairness and equality we seem to be losing a sense of proportion; of no longer giving people the benefit of the doubt. We think we’ve come a long way. Unfortunately we still need to grow up. * FJ = Fisher Junior