No. We are not the generation of “butthurt” individuals (sidenote: what a terrible term). We are not just “overly sensitive” these days, and we are not looking for random excuses to be upset.
We are a generation of more aware individuals. We’re not perfect, not by a freakin’ longshot, but we’re trying. We are slowly getting to a point where marginalized people feel comfortable enough to speak up and tell us when something is hurtful and harmful. That’s progress, not problematic.
Omitting a word or phrase with horrific connotations isn’t as inconvenient for you as it is respectful to those who are continually oppressed by the rampant use of stealthy micro-aggressions. Not to mention that calling something “gay” or “retarded” does nothing to properly articulate the underlying emotion you are trying to convey. Buy a dictionary and move on.
Appropriating someone’s culture isn’t flattering, nor is it showing appreciation. You can’t appreciate a culture by taking only the parts you like, and ignoring the rest (or worse, actively trying to erase the rest). You don’t get to pick and choose what parts of marginalized populations you’d like to showcase, and which you’d rather not think about. So when someone tells you not to dress in that Halloween costume, or to cut off those dreads, it’s not them being sensitive. It’s them pointing out how you are perpetuating a harmful message. It’s them asking you to be a decent human being. Try it out.
Making a joke that enforces stereotypes isn’t funny. Normalizing the likes of violating and belittling a group of people at their expense only serves to reinforce the notions that these people are “less than” the rest of us. It’s not just a joke, we don’t need to calm down, and our senses of humour are excellent. There is truth in joking, after all – by making these jabs at marginalized populations, you are also saying there is truth in what is supposed to be “just a joke”. Perhaps it’s you that needs to find your sense of humour, one that doesn’t come at the expense of people we’ve historically been gigantic asshats to.
No friends, we are not too sensitive. We are more aware. We want to do better . We want to teach our children better. We want to hear the voices of those we’ve typically silenced. We want to believe them, because it is their lived experience. And we should.