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Why are you really offended?

Originally published on May 12 2021 -

Words are important. How we use them to describe a person, group or community will elicit emotional, physical and mental responses.

When you hear the word holocaust, what images come to your mind? How do these images affect your emotional state?

As our language continues to evolve, we must be ever vigilant to ensure that it does so with equity at its heart. Striving at each turn to create a language that is welcoming, not demeaning; hospitable, not disagreeable and sociable, not divisive.

Let’s bring this series on equity to a close with a poem.


It’s weird that you dislike me being offended.

When you say things that you’ve always said;

But try as I might to defend it,

Those words only fill me with dread.

To you, they may not have much meaning.

To you they may be just expression.

To me, they can be so demeaning.

A reminder of times of repression.

When I ask you to call me a woman;

Not chick, babe, sweetie or toots!

I’m just asking you to be human

And spend a little time in my boots.

My culture is important to me;

Just as yours is important to you.

What I’m asking is only that you see

These two things can at once both be true.

But that doesn’t mean we are enemies,

In fact, we can be best of friends;

If only we both strive for equity,

Our friendship won’t break, only bend.

But if you insist on calling me snowflake,

Because I insist on my right to be free;

From the language that causes me heartbreak,

Then how can I ever be me?

I agree that this tolerance goes both ways,

I’ve done and said things to cause pain;

Let us both resolve to make change,

Let us both work to remove this dread stain.

Understand though that as the predominant culture,

Your position is more powerful than mine;

So, you have to work hard to foster,

A relationship where we both are aligned.

We both must accept our humanity,

For all of us this must be true;

Protecting mental health and our sanity,

Is preferable to this doom and gloom.

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