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Hurt Feelings, Things We May Not Talk About

If we say something and someone has hurt feelings, does this mean that there are certain things we may not talk about?  Are we automatically in trouble because we did not know that saying what we said would upset somebody else?  In a democracy, we have freedom of speech or do we?

A Firing Offense

A Firing Offense (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it a firing offense to say something that a patron, client,  or customer takes offense to even if you didn’t know beforehand that they would?  Would your boss or supervisor back you up in this situation? or would he or she throw you on the sacrificial altar of customer satisfaction and client good will?

The shoe has been on the other foot.  It creeps me out to listen to satanic rock music, discuss dental procedures in detail, witness autopsies, or see or handle snakes. I have strong personal spiritual and moral values which I do not attempt to shove down other people’s throats.  Other people have not been as kind to me.

I grew up in a family where you would occasionally hear cuss words used and nobody got upset and where my father would get gifts of liquor from business associates which he never opened and I married into a family that took offense at the use of cuss words, but some of whose members did occasionally take  a drink and might have even had an alcohol problem.  I had to remember what I could do where.  Currently I personally have forsaken cussing and drink very little, if any, alcohol.

Personally I have gotten in trouble in the past for not saying pot smoking was wrong because it was a bad drug, but only because it was illegal.  That is not what I think now.  I also have gotten in trouble for saying that men who did not go to war in World War II were called yellow bellies; because they were thought to be cowards whatever the reason why they did not fight.  I was not a man then and did not realize how sensitive this issue was.

Tolerance is a virtue.  Freedom involves being able to say or believe something without someone of different beliefs or practices saying theirs supercede yours and stopping you.  In return for this courtesy,  we can temper our usage of what someone else considers bad language and we can not engage in things that are openly offensive to others when we don’t have to.  When we share space in this world with others; we should make it as pleasant an experience as possible when we have no reason not to.

 

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