Sunday, April 11, 2010

Political Correctness

This is indeed a sad story in the Mail on Sunday.

Reading the Mail on Sunday story what I find is sad is that there seems to have been a private conversation between two individuals, perhaps more accurately brief exchange who have over time grown friendly and got to know one-and-other, and yet when the exchange was overheard it was a third person that took offence to the remark and they who raised a complaint on the grounds of racism, which seemingly led to the sad events that followed.

My question is, without knowing the particulars of Mr Amors case and set in a broad context, is it not really the case anymore that it is for individuals to take offence for themselves?  It would seem that two of the three people concerned had an association based on knowing each other and that the remark made was within the acceptable perameters of their friendship.  In such a case there would appear to have been no offence caused. 

Can someone cause no offence and yet still potentially be punished for making an offensive remark?  Are we comfortable with that?

Perhaps the unnamed third party could have consulted privately with Mr Amors associate and established whether offence had been caused or not, and in doing so if he or she felt appropriate offered assistance?

At what point, or volume, or context does a private conversation now become other people's business?  Am I alone in thinking that we would struggle to define such limits and that we really ought not need to? 

I am in no doubt of the need for laws to protect people from discrimination, for the need for HR departments, and the need for Social Workers.  But are we now smothered by too many protections, laws and directives?  Can common sense and individual conscience survive in a world determined to legislate everybody into one-world-thinking?  Can two or three people no longer sit down and air their opinions and feelings openly with each other before feeling the need to refer the matter to the appropriate "authority" or have we now surrendered the right of privacy and the right to take offence to higher powers?  

The terror of being scolded for the remark after having been suspended seems to have sadly overwhelmed Mr Amors into taking a tragic course of action.  It just seems very sad to me that had this particular third party not raised a formal complaint that no offence had been rendered, no discriminating behavior disadvantaged anyone and Mr Amor would still be alive.


All Seeing Eye said...

Taking offence has become both an artform and an industry. There will always be someone prepared to create an artifical storm purely to satisty their own psychological needs, and this sad story is a more extreme but nevertheless unsurprising outcome. Inevitable, really.

And the the thing which depresses me most - the malicious seeker-after-nonexistent-trouble won't feel the slightest remorse and will just as enthusiastically make the same report again tomorrow. Hopefully the next person will do what this guy should have done - torched his accuser's house, chopped his family up with pickling knives and bbq'ed his pets. Whilst that might not put an end to this country's slide into Nazi-style reporting on your family and friends for reward, at least it'd be a healthy start to the fightback.

Word Verification is 'Antsy', How appropriate.

James Higham said...

I was going to say something but All Seeing Eye has done it for me.