The Hyper-Sensitivity of Society (1 Viewer)

Bill

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Is it a good thing, or a bad thing?

EDIT: For clarity, I will state here that the issue I'm referring to is the increasing tendency for people to be overly or excessively sensitive in regard to being quick to take offense to what other say or do. Some seem to feel that it will make people think twice about expressing anything that is even potentially offensive to another person. Others simply see hasty verbal retaliation as something that will keep people divided and uncomfortable with one another.
 
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Bill

Bill

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I've worked with a lot of kids and a lot of parents. It's been my experience


I've worked with a lot of kids and a lot of parents - and this has, overwhelmingly, been my experience. I'm not going to say the kids themselves are blameless, because often they are autonomous beings capable of making better decisions. Or demonstrating more resilience. But the parents bear a lot of the blame, too. So I can't agree with the point above that the generation that does this is somehow both blameless and worthy of valorization as a 'work hard and thus are entitled to.....' while they have contributed to whatever the current developmental crisis we find ourselves.

That said, in the 20ish years I've spent with kids from middle school through grad school, I think a lot of the handwringing is overwrought and people are too hard on an entire generation and too quick to draw on stereotypes. Most people in the baby boomer generation will be quick to defend or explain (we've seen it in this thread), to resist generalization, but then turn around and employ the same generalization-al approach to demean people.

And the problem this raises when it comes to empathy is that when we choose to rely on distorted representations of groups of people we don't spend time with, or have authentic and consistent engagement, we are more willing to accept a stereotype or generalization as truth. And that can result in a hardening of one's heart toward others who might very well be in need of understanding, support, etc.

I've mentioned a couple of examples on the boards - the media coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the result on attitudes which impacted attitudes (they are violent animals, unworthy of assistance; why didn't they evacuate - they are dumb); the changing nature and definition of homelessness (a drug-addled male under an overpass, homeless by choice vs. a family, with children, living out of their vehicle or living with friends/family).

These examples illustrate the danger inherent of relying on harmful/negative broad, sweeping generalizations about an entire group of people that impair empathy.

I grew up in a household that was very 'rub some dirt on it.' Dad was a day laborer who was raised in an abusive household, surrounded by addiction and we grew up in a low income neighborhood. I worked hard, and still do. And much of my success today is the result of those things instilled in me, by him - and my hardworking, indefatigable mother.

But even that parental support, in a poor home, is more than a lot of other kids had, for example.

Point being, I think there's room for pretty much anyone - and a need for pretty much everyone - to have a bit more empathy and understanding. And I don't thin it's unfair to ask for some yourself or on behalf of those around you.
Oye, I've always appreciated your thoughts and knowledge on many subjects that you comment on outside of the common denominator of Saints football. So let me get your input on something that I truly wondered about which became a big issue in and around New Orleans (and much of the south in general)

I grew up in and around New Orleans and received a lot of my education in this area. I've always had close friendships with people from different ethnic backgrounds. I enjoyed their company as much as they seemed to enjoy mine.

In those days I never once heard a word about anyone being offended by the confederate statues that were a prominent part of the history of the city and a reflection of the culture that once existed in the deep south during which time these historical people/'figures' made their name.

But the questions are: What eventually created the storm that made this issue impossible for some to live/deal with when their parents at one time never even gave these historical statues a second thought? When and how did the sensitivity toward what these figures represented develop into such a movement that they could no longer be ignored?

Frankly, I don't care either way because I'm the kind of person who is more concerned about the 'here & now'. But was it a good or a bad thing for feelings and actions to reach the level that it did here and elsewhere around the country? :scratch:

I really have no clue, because I don't know what has changed except for all the divisive reactions to it all.
 

Mr. Sparkle

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I've mentioned a few times what I've been observing through my teenage kids and their school/social environment. It's a soda straw view of the world and I don't pretend its anything but that. Anyway, increasingly I see a backlash against hypersensitivity/PC among their age cohort. They get hit with this stuff all day every day at school and, while some kids have drunk the Kool-Aid (so to speak), a lot more are rolling their eyes at their super woke teachers/administrators/classmates.

Youthful anti-authoritarianism for the boomers meant rebelling against the conservative post-war order. For my kids generation, it means rebelling against the PC order installed by the boomers as adults and Gen Xers that got the first wave of indoctrination.

There's probably nothing more radical at my kids school than wearing a MAGA hat. It would likely lead to a suspension for causing a disturbance.

All of which is to say that the hyper-sensitivity is due for a major correction IMO, though I admit the internet/twitter/snapchat All Seeing Eye might keep pushing the pendulum ever further outwards.
 
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ThibodauxSaint

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I just think it's this age of social media which gives people an outlet to express their opinions along with a media that is more about getting clicks, viewers, listeners etc., to latch on to something said by a small percentage of people and over sensationalize it. It makes the minority look like the majority if that makes any sense. I don't think anyone is more or less offended by things as they have been in the past its more about those same people having an outlet to have their voice heard combined with a media with their own agendas to project that voice out to a larger audience. Just my opinion of course.
 
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Bill

Bill

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I can't believe you would start a thread about this topic.
I must admit, I struggled with it. But I was just too curious to know how others felt about this trend in today's society.

Perhaps no one else sees it as a problem and I'm the only one who wishes people were less critical of each other. :scratch:
 

Oye

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edit: this was a lot longer than I thought it would be when I began to respond. Apologies in advance.

Oye, I've always appreciated your thoughts and knowledge on many subjects that you comment on outside of the common denominator of Saints football. So let me get your input on something that I truly wondered about which became a big issue in and around New Orleans (and much of the south in general)

I grew up in and around New Orleans and received a lot of my education in this area. I've always had close friendships with people from different ethnic backgrounds. I enjoyed their company as much as they seemed to enjoy mine.

In those days I never once heard a word about anyone being offended by the confederate statues that were a prominent part of the history of the city and a reflection of the culture that once existed in the deep south during which time these historical people/'figures' made their name.
I don't want to de-rail this thread with 'monument' talk, but if you're really interested I can send along other thoughts - as I feel that topic is more isolated.

But when I was thinking about your question and how it can relate to this comment - and Sparkle's below - this is how I'd approach it.

When you were growing up, with friends from different backgrounds, including black, what year are we talking? I was in a McDonald's in the middle of Mississippi a couple of summers ago, and the cashiers - who were all middle-aged or older black women - would refer to white customers with "Mr. Firstname" or "Mrs. Firstname" and "sir" and "ma'am" while with the black customers, there wasn't the same formality - maybe they all knew the black customers who were in there, but it didn't seem to be. The tone was different. And my wife - who is not native to the area - picked up on it before I did.

And I don't think I noticed it because it was something that I'd seen before, growing up. I remember seeing it at my uncle's plumbing shop in SWLA and with some delivery guys that I'd worked with. In some cases it was probably a management/subordinate thing. But not always.

Anyway, point being that years ago, I'd think about what other social strictures might have been in place that would have limited someone's ability to speak what they thought about these statues to someone who was white. I have no idea, and am not presuming to know the answer.

But if you're asking me "What changed from 40 years ago to today?" then I think part of that answer should at least include some notion of a thing that was significantly different 40 years ago than today. And I think that notion of ethnicity, deference, and ability to speak truth to power is something that would've been different. I have no idea how far I'd draw this, but I have had conversations with people I'd worked with back home who were black and some didn't care while some others said that they were glad that people were able to talk about it today because they couldn't 'back then.'

So, I think that might contribute to "what changed?"

And I think that leads me to what Sparkle has said - which is this notion of where the pendulum is.

I think having the position that we are in a period of over-correction might well be a fair one. I won't push back too hard on that one. I don't think we've come close to reaching socially calamitous levels (and I'm not saying he is saying that, either), but I can at least where he/someone is coming from, thinking that.

But I also think it's a pretty natural evolution.

For so long, people have been boxed into categories - like I said in the earlier post. People have said that people in Group X must by This, That, and The Other. And the stories that get told about those groups are often mediated by people who control the storytelling and the mediums in which the stories are told. Well, with the advent of more power being available to more people, then people who have been in a subordinate position end up saying, "Hey, we don't want to be represented that way anymore. We're not really like that."

And so they start to try and deconstruct, dispel those age old notions of Themselves that other people have of them.

That seems natural.

I find myself correcting people up here on what Cajun is or what being from Louisiana means. There are a *lot* of unhealthy and unfair assumptions people make about these things up here. And so I speak up about them, I correct them.

Again, that seems like a totally natural thing to want to do.

But in the comparison I was making, if being "Cajun" meant actual inferiority and subordination and marginalization - including under the law - I'd probably just keep my head down and mouth shut.

And we aren't even talking about ethnicity, so it's obviously not meant to comparable in degree.

So, I'm not going to get up in arms over someone claiming to want their idea of Self to be represented in a way they think is closer to who they are. Given the historical circumstances, I think where we are is perfectly understandable, and there were people who saw this moment before it arrived.

I think the current period is growing pains and what I'm hoping for is that we overcome these things and begin to recognize and value difference, so that we can - in the long run - evolve as a species.

I probably will never see it in my lifetime. I think there's a lot more growing and pain to come. But considering the history of the country, it was only ever going to come. And I think a lot of the social discomfort comes because people think about "the way things used to be" and assume that is synonymous with "the way things are supposed to be."

That's where a lot of entitlement comes from, but it's an illusion, borne of a narrow understanding a group with power has over a group with less power (and it's not just ethnicity, btw). So when the power begins to move, even a bit, from that system which has been around for a minute, we shouldn't be surprised when self-determination begins to assert itself.

In the meantime, that's where I think empathy comes from - starting from a position of listening than assuming. Hearing rather than projecting. Considering rather than commanding. But empathy isn't possible when we are so reliant on those old norms that were artificially held up through the circumstantial nature of history as opposed to some immutable historical Truth
 

renegadewa

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The prevalence of exclamations in your post suggests that you are particularly sensitive to the subject of millennial entitlement.

Some might even say...hyper-sensitive.

You couldn't be more wrong in calling me hyper sensitive. The exclamation points are a habit or writing style...................nothing more and nothing less. You're far from the first person to note my use of the exclamation points. It's just a writing style that I've always used. I mean I'm not sitting here in my chair and fuming or being triggered by the overly sensitive topic of discussion that some people here seem to be intent on telling that my view is archaic and out of touch because of the generation that I was born in to.

Just like everyone else here my opinion is nothing more than an opinion but it seems like it certainly has triggered the sensitivities of a few others.

I'm not perfect and none of us are.
 
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Bill

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Oye, I enjoyed reading your points. And you wrapped up your thoughts well in your concluding paragraph. In fact I believe it is one of the most important things in society to be able to see things from someone else's perspective in order to fully appreciate what shapes their thinking.

But you also made mention of how people feel about being pushed into a corner about what they should feel or believe about a particular issue. In many cases when attempts are made to force views or standards that another finds unacceptable, it only adds roadblocks to beneficial dialog and common ground. Saying, 'Get on board or else you are stupid' rarely changes anyone's thinking and often just causes that person to take a stronger stance against the change.

I think Sparkle makes a good point about the 'swing' of extreme ideas and attitudes. Ideals are proved right or wrong over time, and when some view begins to go out of style or is determined to be foolish, people either moderate or they radically change to the other extreme.

For the most part I believe that people want to feel that their way of thinking is right, and they want others to acknowledge their view. Sadly some assume that 'right' is determined by who yells the loudest.
 
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Bill

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You couldn't be more wrong in calling me hyper sensitive. The exclamation points are a habit or writing style...................nothing more and nothing less. You're far from the first person to note my use of the exclamation points. It's just a writing style that I've always used. I mean I'm not sitting here in my chair and fuming or being triggered by the overly sensitive topic of discussion that some people here seem to be intent on telling that my view is archaic and out of touch because of the generation that I was born in to.

Just like everyone else here my opinion is nothing more than an opinion but it seems like it certainly has triggered the sensitivities of a few others.

I'm not perfect and none of us are.
LOL! I'm like you in that regard. I was taught to use lots of symbols in my writing to try and simulate the way I would speak if I were in a conversation with someone. But like most people when I type 'LOL' ... I'm rarely laughing out loud. :hihi: (<- I like these guys too!)
 

Brown

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If you see a picture or hear the voice of Elizabeth Warren and it makes you want to grab your AR and empty the Mag into your Obama targets, get in your jacked up F-150, with the nutsack on the hitch, crank up “baby it’s cold outside” and rundown a prius on your way to Ricks, you might be a sensitive prick.

If you see a picture or hear the voice of Trump and it forces you to steer your Prius off the road, spill your starbucks latte on your skinny jeans and force your transgender child to grab the wheel on your way back from an Antifa, lgbtqia or codepink rally, you might be a sensitive snowflake.
 

Oye

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Oye, I enjoyed reading your points. And you wrapped up your thoughts well in your concluding paragraph. In fact I believe it is one of the most important things in society to be able to see things from someone else's perspective in order to fully appreciate what shapes their thinking.
well, we see it pretty commonly. Much of my work has been around de-centering perspectives and empathy and busting/complicating stereotypes.

I know To Kill a Mockingbird gets heat these days, but I still teach it and I love a line from early in the text - when Atticus says the following to Scout:

"If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb in his skin and walk around in it."

That's just one example, but it's a pretty common idea - try and move beyond, past assumption and stereotype. That's usually a pretty good first step.

But you also made mention of how people feel about being pushed into a corner about what they should feel or believe about a particular issue. In many cases when attempts are made to force views or standards that another finds unacceptable, it only adds roadblocks to beneficial dialog and common ground. Saying, 'Get on board or else you are stupid' rarely changes anyone's thinking and often just causes that person to take a stronger stance against the change.
Yes. This can be problematic. I don't think it's fair to be in a position of subordination and then, when in a position of power, to end up marginalizing others because now you have the power. That whole 'the oppressed becomes the oppressor' thing. I think that can be dangerous and it can be a roadblock, serving only to perpetuate the power problem in the first place. The dynamic stays in place, the variables get flipped and that's not real, actual change.

That I don't condone. But I also recognize that my position - as one who hasn't been oppressed, really - is not going to be the most authoritative in this regard, experientially speaking.
I think Sparkle makes a good point about the 'swing' of extreme ideas and attitudes. Ideals are proved right or wrong over time, and when some view begins to go out of style or is determined to be foolish, people either moderate or they radically change to the other extreme.
sure, it was in one position of stable oppression, marginalization for a long time and now that it's come the other way (but not nearly all the way the other way), I am not surprised that there is going to be some over-correction. And, in the long cycle of things, it'll revert back - hopefully settling in some medium area of respect and acknowledgment and inclusion and etc. I realize it's pollyannish to think that will ever be fully realized, but we can progress - we have, in fact.

Besides the end result is only tangentially related to my point that all of this is pretty expected, imo. And I would say that the current place on the pendulum isn't 'equal but opposite.' That is, if you take the place of the pendulum a hundred years ago when it comes to discriminatory attitudes and possession of power we aren't in an equally discriminatory position today, just on the other side.

A lot of the same power structures and ideas are still in place and haven't done a complete 180. There hasn't been an utter social inversion and I doubt there will ever be one that we see.
 
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Bill

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Oye, ours is an idealistic view in that to achieve these things you promote people would really have to genuinely care about those around them no matter who they are or where they come from, rather than just tolerate other people.
In lieu of that people just need to avoid being so quick to take offense at what others choose to believe. If a person is not directly trying to harm me, they can do whatever they wish. It won't change how I feel about them.
 
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literature

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You couldn't be more wrong in calling me hyper sensitive. The exclamation points are a habit or writing style...................nothing more and nothing less. You're far from the first person to note my use of the exclamation points. It's just a writing style that I've always used. I mean I'm not sitting here in my chair and fuming or being triggered by the overly sensitive topic of discussion that some people here seem to be intent on telling that my view is archaic and out of touch because of the generation that I was born in to.

Just like everyone else here my opinion is nothing more than an opinion but it seems like it certainly has triggered the sensitivities of a few others.

I'm not perfect and none of us are.
To cut through the BS and put it simply:

This is what a hyper-sensitive person actually sounds like.

There are currently far more people who are hyper-sensitive themselves over a perceived "hyper-sensitive PC-culture safe-space participation-trophy culture" than there are people who actually belong to that culture. That culture is largely a media creation designed to sell advertising to the first group of people on television and radio.

Why did you trigger people? Because this imaginary advertising-selling culture fueled Trump's election, and I'll bet one functioning and funded federal government that it isn't working out that well and has a few people upset.
 
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As a general rule I think that people who talk more about their opinions are more sensitive than those who talk about their opinions less. Expressing one's thoughts that this should be that way, and that should be this way, and it's wrong how it is is, to a significant degree, an expression of sensitivity. Perhaps the more someone does that the more sensitive they are. Also, the frequency and intensity with which that's done may determine whether or not one's sensitivity is "hyper."

It's not always bad to be hypersensitive. Maybe it's not even usually bad. I associate sensitivity with caring. In my opinion there are good things and bad things to care about, just as there are good and bad things to be sensitive about, and you'd agree with much of it, while disagreeing with much of it.

Some of my favorite people have been hypersensitive to the things I'm sensitive about. MLK for instance could be considered hypersensitive. His hypersensitivity to racism and war has led to a much better world. It's hard to argue that MLK was not a sensitive man.

Optimistically, in the long run, I think all of our disagreements are just a slow process towards a more agreeable world. We live in a new age of mass communication that's expanding rapidly. Our community is growing -- consequently more opinions will be shared to a greater extent and there will be a greater clash, more opportunities for our sensitivities to be triggered.

Sharing our sensitivities is generally a good thing. How else could we learn to better live with one another?
 

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