JournalismPakistan.com April 04, 2013
Why do we have to be sporting about people who are offensive? There is this overhanging belief that if someone is out of line when you are in company you should take it in the right spirit and not make a scene. Hello, hellll-o. Why? If that person is not sensitive to my feelings and is taking liberties it seems to me there is no reason why I should be a 'sport." I hate that word.
Like the other day there is this person going on about 'Mallus', that being a short derivative for people who come from Kerala. In itself it isn't particularly upsetting and there is no chip on the shoulder nor does one seek slight on hearing it being used. But the moment there is an inflection put on the word and it becomes either a criticism or a label then it crosses over from being merely colloquial to becoming downright unpleasant.
Now my daughters are with me and by virtue of their mother, are half Keralites and they find the verbal indiscretion unacceptable. They look at me as if to say okay, this is enough, the man has crossed the limit, go to bat, Dad. And I say, will you stop using that word, I don't find it attractive and it is neither funny nor is it polite.
The conversation collapses into a sticky sort of silence and he says, oh, come on, don't be so sensitive, I was only having a little fun, hey, Vohra is getting uptight, why are you getting riled up, I didn't mean it personally. How does not meaning it personally change things or sort of give you a free pass? And there are enough people telling me to lighten up, easy, easy, no need to get into a twist. And I am saying, no sorry, my kids find his manner offensive, I find his manner offensive and I think the way he uses the word reels of prejudice and pettiness and rampant ignorance and I have been sitting here listening to him rabbit on and on and not take a hint and I see no flipping reason in the whole wide world why I should take it. I really don’t…you have a problem with that.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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