Noah Keene

My generation is better at getting offended than any other generation. Despite the connotations that statement carries, that's not an inherently bad thing. 

It’s no secret that American culture could be pretty offensive in times past, either intentionally or unintentionally. Blackface performers were once a common form of entertainment, WWII-era entertainment was full of Japanese and German stereotypes, and going back further, mainstream culture once considered blacks and Native Americans to be, for lack of better words, less than human. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, if the stereotypes used in blackface performances were used in a non-satirical manner in a movie or a TV show, it would be boycotted. People have been getting rightfully offended over such government actions as the Dakota Access Pipeline and Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. People nowadays also take issue with the exploitation of real problems to further an agenda. For example, in the summer of 2016, a New York Times reporter wrote an opinion piece about his experience firing an AR-15. In the piece, he stated that the experience gave him short-term PTSD, a statement that the Internet tore him to pieces for because of his exploitation of a real condition. In this manner, my generation being more easily offended is good. It means we are moving past our discriminatory past and into a world where we view people of all races, sexual orientations, religions, and genders as equals. 

However, there is a downside to a more easily offended generation. Namely, that we’re more offended! The downside goes both ways. There are those who use their being “offended” as a means to make people conform to their views (a common criticism of such concepts as safe spaces on college campuses and the political correctness movement) and there are people who speak hatefully and then tell people to thicken their skin (an occurrence particularly frequent on the Internet). 

In conclusion, my generation being more easily offended is a double-edged sword. On the one edge, it’s a sign of progress, that we, as a society, are getting increasingly intolerant of, well, intolerance. On the other edge, it's just another way people are forcing their worldview on others. But either way, nobody does getting offended better than our generation, and if we wield it well, generations to come can benefit from our offense.