Americans love being offended. Right after watching the Super Bowl and apple pie, there's victimhood. In fact, it's hard to find someone who's not a victim. If you are young, you are a victim of ageism and can't get a job because you don't have experience. If you are old, you are a victim at the hands of all those pissed off young people who won't give you a job because you aren't young and hip like them. Over fifty percent of the population is female, but it doesn't stop them from being labeled a "minority." If your black, you face racism. If you are Christian, you are discriminated against because you follow Jesus. The vast majority of the imagined "elite" Americans must hate you. If you are not Christian, then you have Christians oppressing you every chance they get because you are, in their eyes, a pagan.
Not to worry, even us white guys don't get left out of the fun. To feel aggrieved, we just have to turn on Fox News, which panders to us, telling us how hard we have it because the latte drinking, gay-loving, Volvo driving, Vermont-living, Ben and Jerry's eating, PBS watching, over-educated snobs are making fun of us. Yes, after two hundred years, us white guys are really slumming it now, what with a black guy in the White House and all. Don't get us started on all the Cadillac driving welfare queens, and illegal immigrants. Our gun-toting heads might explode.
People love to get offended when they hear something they don't like. It doesn't matter whether it's true or not. When I go to parties and hear unsolicited political opinions, even when they are about politics or religion, I don't get offended. I just jump right in and start arguing. Religion and politics, after all, are matters of consequence. But there are tons of people who have a heart attack if they hear something they don't agree with. They become so emotional they hate the person. I always thought that people of good will could disagree but enjoy sharing a rational discussion. I must be alone in this belief, because I can't tell you how many people get absolutely enraged if you say you either love or hate Obama. Even on TV, if you want to clear Whoopi Goldberg from a room, just say something she doesn't like. No need to fart around her, she's doing the mad dash if you say anything against her value system. Her head would indeed explode if she heard something she didn't agree with, and she gets paid to conduct interviews and talk on television!
America pretends to value free speech. While America is still more free in terms of speech than other countries, there are certain taboos that will get you fired from your job faster than anything. If you are a politician or a pundit, you can say anything you want about how the poor should be incinerated, babies should be killed, etc. But don't you dare say anything even remotely perceived as racist. That will get you canned immediately. You should consider yourself lucky if you aren't drawn and quartered on national television. In fact, the word "nigger" is so offensive, you can't even say it, because people will literally die if they hear it. You could advocate the building of concentration camps, so long as you don't recommend that a certain race or ethnicity be chosen to go into them. If there were concentration camps for illegal immigrants, gays, or the poor, you probably would get a thumbs up from the American public. Beating up on gays and illegal immigrants is totally PC. In fact, that talk will get you elected to high office. Just say something about "family values" afterward, and all will be well.
Americans love being offended. They love victimhood. Why? Because it is empowering. As a victim, you get special rights and privileges. You get to go to the front of the line. You get to be immune from all legitimate criticism. Look at the oppressive Israeli government that has brutalized and oppressed the Palestinians for years. They bomb innocent women and children and it's not a problem. If you criticize them, then you are anti-Semitic and not mindful of the Holocaust. Apparently being a victim of the Holocaust means you get to do your own holocaust to others. It's a free "get out of jail" card for state sponsored terrorism.
I would love to meet a group of people who don't claim to be victims. I haven't met one yet. It feels too good to be a victim. It's too self-indulgent to ignore. It's like the fast food of self-esteem. "I'll take a large order of oppression with a double side of victimhood to go, please."
Please give my oppressed ass the special sauce, too.
Now I am not arguing that certain groups don't currently face sexism, racism, and homophobia, or anti-Semitism. These are real, serious issues. The problem is that America doesn't take them seriously. If we actually cared about correcting past injustices, we as a society would pass laws that would actually empower all people to have equal opportunities. We wouldn't be passing tax cuts for the very wealthy while cutting welfare programs that allow little children and widowed mothers to eat. We wouldn't be denying health care to sick people, many of whom actually are minorities. If we cared about racism, we wouldn't have criminal laws which make the possession of crack cocaine a lifetime prison sentence while letting primarily white, upper class cocaine possessors off the hook relatively easy. If we cared about women, we would pass strict laws allowing more time off for maternity leave and for equal pay for women. If we cared about working class white guys, we wouldn't be passing "free trade" programs like NAFTA which move all the jobs and factories to other countries.
But the truth is we won't do any of these things. We would rather use Orwellian doublespeak and turn our heads to the abuses of everyone at the hands of each other. It's easier to remain a victim and remain smug in our oppression than be adults, discuss the important issues, and solve them. Apparently that's too offensive.
Feeling offended yet? If yes, then I suppose I've proved my point.