You know, I am 33-years-old and before today had never been personally offended.
Oh, I grasp offensive things as a concept. There are racial slurs, and sexual slurs, and slurs of all sorts. I know these things are out there, and I've encountered them toward other people before.
I think I told this story before:
One night in, oh, 2000 or so, right after the ex and I moved to Virginia we went to a Mexican restaurant. When I got my food, it was wrong, so I called the waitress over to send it back. And when I said it was wrong, her response was something along the lines of "Well, they got it wrong 'cause there's Mexicans in the kitchen." And then she walked off.
And I sat there, and I looked after her, and then I got up and went to the hostess stand and asked to speak to the manager. And when the manager came I repeated what the waitress had said and told him it was inexcusably racist. His response? It was OK, because it was a joke.
Of course, that was idiotic and I told him so and we never returned and warned everybody away from it when we lived there. And yes it was offensive, but I was offended not because it was insulting to me personally, but because a) sane people don't stand for things like that and b) there are no few Mexicans in my extended family.
Well, tonight Erik and I go to dinner and I'm not going to go into too much detail aside from this, but one of the people--someone I cannot tell to go fuck themselves--was wearing a shirt with this logo on it:
I realize there is some controversy over this logo, and many people who claim it is neither racist nor offensive. These people are, to not put too fine a point on it, wrong. That it is a sports team logo makes no difference. That it is supposedly not intended to give offense makes even less. It is offensive, and it is racist.
It barely fucking looks human. But it's an Indian. A red Indian, get it? Heh-heh. Even got the little feather and shit.
But you see, Indians don't look like that. Indians look like this:
And Indians look like this:
(Hey look, there's the feather.)
And Indians look like this:
And do you know what else Indians look like? They look like this:
You will note there is not a single centimeter of red skin present. Or...well, any of the rest of that shit.
If you look up there at the photo of Sitting Bull, it is kind of fucking obvious where that logo came from. It is a caricature of one of the greatest chiefs out there, and of one of my personal heroes. It is an attempt to reduce him from a great man to a punchline, for all that it's called 'Chief Wahoo'. Yes, that is fucking offensive.
I'll admit, it has always somewhat bemused me that we even have to have the conversation anymore. Pretty much everybody in the world, in 2013, can look at this and tell it's racist and offensive:
And of course, it is offensive for the exact same reasons: it is a caricature of a black person intended to make black people look less than human. It is exaggerated far beyond anything any black person even could look like. It exaggerates ethnic features until it dehumanizes the type of person it represents.
But somehow the other is not offensive.
Let me put them side-by-side, just for the dense folks:
Get it now?