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You just enjoy being offended

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"You just enjoy being offended" is an accusation frequently leveled at people who challenge oppressive behavior. Besides dismissing oppression as mere "offense", this accusation blames the target of oppression for being oppressed, deflecting attention from the oppressor's actions. Variants are "You just look for reasons to get offended" or "You're taking offense intentionally."

From the original version of "Derailing for Dummies":

Closely related to the above point, it's another critical element of a successful derailing. You really need to make sure the Marginalised Person knows you consider their issues to be completely trivial. It's insensitive in the extreme – it also exemplifies your lack of awareness and empathy.

By demonstrating you have absolutely no concept of what a particular issue or point may mean to them both within their conversation with you and beyond it, you get to show off just how cocooned and protected in Privilege® you really are. Remember how maddening this is for a Marginalised Person™ – it's a Privilege® they do not share and will probably never know so to witness it being so blithely owned and used to diminish their experience is bound to get their blood pumping.

But absolutely best of all, you are being obnoxious and hurtful enough to tell them outright that they enjoy facing discrimination and prejudice. Enjoy it so much, in fact, that they “look” for reasons to be hurt and offended! Wow. This one is almost breathtakingly perfect as a derailment tactic, it lacks any sort of conceivable class and humility and goes straight to smug viciousness. The very idea that anyone enjoys being hurt and discriminated against as a daily practice is so preposterous it could only be believed by a Privileged Person® who's never really experienced or known what it's like.

The fact is, many Marginalised People™ go out of their way to avoid these sorts of debates and confrontations because it's such a painful and unenjoyable experience. Those you are encountering in this circumstance have likely made a conscious choice to do so, even knowing it will probably go bad. For you to spit in the face of their choice in putting themselves on the line by suggesting it's all fun and games for them just adds a particularly piquant insult to injury.

Tim Chevalier wrote:

Frequently, people confuse oppressive speech with speech that "offends somebody" or "makes somebody take offense". However, characterizing oppression as simply "being offended" is a way for oppressors to trivialize it. The rhetorical trick here is to reframe oppression (which is only possible for someone in a group that's socially recognized as having power to do to people in a group that's socially recognized as being subordinate to the powerful group) as merely "being offended". Anyone can say something to offend anybody else, so replacing the concept of "oppression" with "offense" is a way of erasing power differences, of avoiding the need to talk about them and of attributing different outcomes that arise from systematic differences in power to the random vagaries of individual behavior.

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