Why on earth do you take offense!

2014-08-06 15:26

Once upon a time, there lived an individual called One. One loved going to the market. The market was a colourful place, people from all walks of life came to sell their wares, trinkets of all shapes and sizes, essential goods of all sorts, unknown delicacies that only those brave enough to taste would gleefully divulge to their heart’s content. There were rare pieces drawn from all over the world, to each one a world of meaning assigned, it took a keen mind to unravel the truth hidden in some of the rough facades. Examining each seller, each buyer and those who came to the market to simply be, One noticed that regardless of the reasons behind each one’s presence at the market, hoards of individuals walked away with strange bundles…and they looked very heavy!

Curious to discover, what the bundles contained, One inquired of one seller, “Please sir, pray tell, what is contained in those bundles?”

“Humph!” the seller snorted, “ Offense! They’ll have that over anything else, no one buys anything decent anymore!”

The moral...

Regardless of how big a bundle offense comes in, it is a heavy bundle to carry and unless you are trying to implement some gladiator-type-exercise routine to your daily life, it is one bundle not worth carrying. Regardless of who is “giving” offense or how enticing it may be, we all decide whether we will take it or leave it.

Scrolling through some of the comments on platforms such as this one, one is spoilt for choice as far as offense goes. Living in a young democracy among individuals of different maturity levels, different cultural backgrounds, social status and reasoning capacity also creates room for making, peddling and taking offense and again, the onus to walk away with a consignment of offense, lies on you and I…and One.

I for one, could have gathered and still have room to gather a vault of offense the size of the Reserve Bank’s if I choose to. Looking at the photograph that has many up in arms about the supposed racial connotations attached to it, I wonder just how much offense was meant to be given and how many have accepted the offense with open arms.

I do not in any way diminish we live in a society where issues of “skin tone” are somewhat sensitive. However, I wonder if the majority of us try to understand that there is one race, the human race made up of different cultures, communities and individuals. I also do not discount the fact that there are times when one’s patience is tried, but what makes us differ from other creatures is our ability to rationalise. I do not take for granted that our degrees of rationality differ from individual to individual. I also do not disregard the possibility of coming across as irrational in moments when I am fully convinced I am being completely rational thereby sparking a completely irrational debate with another who may perceive their degree of rationality superior to mine (that was meant to be a long sentence).

I find it absolutely irrational that we attempt to be "politically correct" on one hand and hate politicians on the other. That we pedal notions of freedom and the ideals of the Nelson Mandelas of this world on the one hand and send daggers flying when another but tries to exercise the very same freedom. Most of all, I find it absolutely heart-breaking that we have been programmed to get wound up instead of unwind, even in the face of adversity. What ever happened to laughing at our ridiculous selves and all the other equally ridiculous ones we meet regularly and just leave it at that.

Why not live a little and laugh more often. In case you’re wondering what there is to laugh about here are a few suggestions from my own personal experiences.

1)      When people of all "skin tones" look at me funny when discussing matters of sunblock, I take comfort in knowing that at least there is hope for equality, the sun does not discriminate.

2)      When people of all "hair types" ask if I wash my hair. I imagine how much of a genius I must be to go for an entire lifetime dodging water, I mean that’s Guinness Book of Records material right there!

3)      When people of all “shopping basket sizes” ask me how much something costs when I am minding my own business “unpacking shelves or aimlessly ogling merchandise”. Wouldn’t it be great if I could charge my fellow consumers a price of my own choosing…oh where are the candid cameras when you need them!

4)      When people of all" languages" say things like, “You TALK so well”, bringing my decades of practice to naught. A sudden bout of amnesia would not be a bad idea in such situations, add a “Me no speak English”. All the more fun to momentarily lose the ability to speak  entirely and make wild hand gestures.

5)       When people of all “mobility levels” ask, “How did you get here or how are you getting home?”  Picture this, “I was teleported by Dodo from Zipzonia and he’s sending a spaceship to take me back, how do they get around in these parts?”

6)      When people of all "levels of intelligence" say things like, “You are so clever,” because I managed to figure out how to assemble an item without asking for a million and one instructions on how “not to do it”. Wouldn't it be great to suddenly bolt through the door, run down the street, waving the instruction manual in the air shouting, “Eureka! I found it!!!”

Note to the BCCSA:

In light of this blackface thing doing rounds I propose the following to avoid offending the good citizens of this rainbow nation who are prone to taking offense:

  • Under no circumstances are broadcasters allowed to air Leon Schuster material and any of those others who clearly cannot differentiate between humour and giving offense.
  • That also goes for that Outsurance guy who impersonates a black woman, Dolores, in the television advert…how absurd!!!
  • Oh and Tannie Evita has to go, what an insult to women!!!
  • No comedian is to ever grace any television or radio platform in this rainbow nation, they are highly politically incorrect and offensive

Note to the legislature:

  • Please pass a law that outlaws all costume parties and events, the Zombie walk and Halloween in particular, they are highly offensive to the zombies and aliens and the last thing we need after an earthquake is a Zombie apocalypse or alien invasion.
  • And please tell everyone to take off that part of the form where it asks you to fill in your racial background. It is highly confusing since authenticity tests cannot be run to prove any of it. It’s just so hard to pick whether I want to be  the Indian, Coloured, Chinese or Other shade of black for BEE purposes. It also makes it difficult to know when we should be offended and who to be angry at in instances of “political incorrectness”.
  • Please pass a law that prohibits beauty parlours and spas from using any colour mud in mud-baths, facial masks etc not matching the skin tone of the individual upon whom they are applied. Oh and please  include a clause that prohibits cosmetic companies from using models whose skin does not blend in with such products as this is also highly offensive.
  • Lastly, please pass a law that prohibits parents from buying or renting houses in areas where the soil does not match their children's skin tone lest they play in the mud and offend a passerby.


There is no they, them or we in this, only I and perhaps One. It is never what is said but how it is said...

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