DeBlog: Are We Too Quick To Be Offended?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

How quickly do you get offended? What kinds of things are over the line?

One of the top stories on the web today is about a KDWB-FM song that was making fun of Hmong people. I’m not really interested in whether the song itself is offensive … what’s interesting to me is the reaction of people.

Half of the comments seem to be from people who are offended, the other half are people who say it’s no big deal.

We see this with comedy all the time. I see this on my Twitter feed quite a bit — where someone says something, and some people lash out calling it offensive.

Are we quicker to be offended? Are there things we should be offended by? Why are some of us quick to be offended and others don’t seem to mind?

We’re talking to a comedian and a social psychologist for our story tonight at 10. As always, I’d love your thoughts. Go ahead — try to offend me.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Mark

    Well, seeing as we’re discussing offense at a racist song. No, I don’t think taking offense is unreasonable. Is it unreasonable for me to go ouch when you step on my foot? How about if you stomp on it on purpose? Or are we suppose to be polite, nod and smile when people insult and attack us verbally?

  • ashley

    taking offense is a choice we make. yes, some offenses, in my opinion, deserve a response or action, but it seems we, as a whole, are much too eager to take an “offensive” comment/situation and turn it into a soapbox. people are quick to react and judge without knowing the context. knowledge is power!

  • Capt'n Awesome

    I think you need to make the distinction between genuine offense taken and people claiming outrage to push some agenda. In a lot of cases, there’s an advantage to be gained from playing the victim, therefore it should be no surprise to see a rise in the number of people claiming to take offense to something. See: U.S. political system.

  • Willie in Eagan

    Odd that we seem so sensitive at the same time popular media are desensitizing us to violence and sexual related jokes. We appear to be both insulted and entertained by a range of material that wouldn’t have been allowed of the back room just a decade ago. Two and a Half Men anyone?

    • Jason DeRusha

      that’s a really interesting comment, Willie. Thanks.

  • marlin 56345

    life is to short to always be offended , the only one that it hurts is you if you let it, the one speaking the offence doesn’t get hurt at all

  • Amanda

    I grew up in Northern Minnesota and now spend time in Downtown Minneapolis. I have noticed that they way I talk around my peers in Minneapolis has to be done a lot more carefully than in my home town. There are times when people say hurtful things that would obviously be offensive, but when all we’re trying to do is have some harmless fun some “cidiot” comes along, gets offended, and ruins everyone’s buzz.

  • gerry gfroerer

    Gas prices: I hear the marketig BS. What other commodity has gone up 30% or more since last year? Colusion? I think so. Most stations change prices the same day, the same amount +/- $ 1.00, no more price wars. What we need are price controls set by the government. These people are so greedy they don’t care about the effect they have on the rest of us or the ecopnomy.

  • Gibgirl

    When a radio station starts to have parody songs and other tactics aimed specifically at one race every other week, I think someone is bound take offense.

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