In our ever evolving world of political correctness one of the great buzzes of our times is sensitivity to feelings. Now I’m a guy of a thousand different moods; one who had suppressed his feelings for years and then looked for escape in the bottle. I can empathize with feelings. What I cannot expect however is that the rest of the world be sensitive to my particular feelings at any particular time.
Look, people who have had acts of injustice put on them because of their race, their faith, ethnicity, etc., have every right to feel angry, hurt, frustrated, misunderstood or anything else; but injustice also paints on a large canvas and no two parts are equal. And while we cannot get into the comparison game, we also cannot walk around with our sensitivity meters set on overload so that anything other than positive affirmation becomes a personal violation.
I’ve lived long enough to have accumulated my own list of heightened sensitivity areas; many of which are reminders of the wasteful life I once lived. I don’t like hanging around people who are intoxicated or folks who use the “F” bomb or “GD” like they belong in every sentence; but I don’t expect people to stop because I’m sensitive to it. My choices are simple: I can speak up and say something about it or I can remove myself from the environment.
When it comes to others sensitivities I don’t have the same luxuries. I can’t know what anyone has gone through apart from knowing more about that person, and even then I’m likely to step on some hidden landmines because THEY'RE HIDDEN.
Once these are uncovered THEN we can make a difference, and we do so by engaging in dialogue and having compassion for the individual and their experiences. Personally, I know as little about slavery as I do about incarceration, antisemitism, childhood rape, discrimination, etc, but that doesn’t stop me from listening to someone who has dealt with them.
We cannot be held responsible for other people’s past, but we can be responsible with whether we treat them right moving forward.
Next up: Should I speak up?