I must say that I found this news report very confusing. It appeared Thursday from CBS News in Los Angeles. It seems like a family in Ontario, California was flying a Mexican flag, and this offended Tressy Capps. She told the family several times that she didn’t like their flag. “This is America,” she said. “Maybe you can move to Mexico if you want to fly your Mexican flag. Does that make sense?” Later she was quoted as saying, “I was offended.”
It’s what followed that I need someone to explain to me. Rather than rally around this woman and defend her right to not be offended, the community turned on her. Tressy began to get ugly threats and ended up losing her job over this. And I looked at other reaction to the story on the Internet and it was similar. This family, who was from Mexico, said they didn’t mean to offend anyone and they just wanted to celebrate their Mexican heritage, so leave them alone. Yes, I understand the point, and I do feel that Tressy should have chilled out here. What’s the big deal if someone is from Mexico and wants to display the Mexican flag? Heck, I spent two years as a missionary in Spain and I have a t-shirt with a Spanish flag on the front.
On the other hand, when students from Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill California wanted to wear American Flag t-shirts, the school told them they couldn’t because it was Cinco de Mayo and Mexican students were offended by that. Yesterday, the 9th Circuit just upheld the school’s action.
So it seems to me that this right to not be offended is a very one-sided right. If we’re displaying a religious symbol and someone is offended by that, well, we have to put that symbol away. If Condoleeza Rice is invited to speak at commencement at Rutgers University, and that appearance offends part of the audience, then the school needs to find someone else to speak.
But if some silly woman is offended by the flying of the Mexican flag, then we lecture her that she shouldn’t be offended. Likewise if I am offended by someone who mocks religion.
So it appears that this right to not be offended goes only one way. It only applies to people who are offended by patriotism, Christianity, or conservatives. If you are offended by anything else, just chill out and learn a little tolerance.
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