Are People Too Sensitive?

Many people have experienced sitting with a group of friends when someone blurts out a joke making fun of a particular person. While people laugh, there is always someone who sneers and declares the joke immature, offensive, or too outrageous.

We are living in a multicultural society, where people are from different nationalities, customs, and beliefs, and consequently we do not all think the same way. We have to be careful what we say or do so we don’t offend anyone.

However, even if it is respectful to keep people’s feelings in mind, commonly we hear people complain that an advertisement doesn’t apply to them or a certain part in a movie was offensive to them. A joke may not apply to them or they deem it disrespectful instead of looking for the intention. Seeing how much we have to alter jokes and offer apologies to fit certain people’s demands raises the question: have people gotten too sensitive?

There is a fine line between honesty and being cruel, but it seems like that line has been blurred. This can be seen in how people react when you say something like, “hey, you could improve in this” or “that really doesn’t look nice on you.” Anything can seem insulting in today’s society.

Sarcasm is my best friend. Being able to say something in a witty fashion with a double meaning fascinates me. With my frequent use of sarcasm I noticed people getting offended at things that were not even directed towards them or something completely random. I started getting comments such as, “soon enough your sarcasm will get you in trouble.” Up until then I hadn’t been reprimanded, so it made me see that people may overreact and create barriers by being so strict.

Many can easily misread something as insensitive. Jeremy Lin is an Asian-American player for the New York Knicks who has been leading a winning streak, creating the phenomenon “lin-sanity.” Ben and Jerry’s, a popular ice cream company, decided to cash in and created an ice cream called “Taste the Lin-Sanity.” This should seem like an honor. Shortly after it was released, complaints soon followed since the ice cream featured fortune cookie flakes and customers thought the ice cream had racist undertones. After hearing the uproar of customers, Ben and Jerry’s issued an apology and changed the fortune cookies to waffle cookies. Ben and Jerry’s claimed it was because the fortune cookies got soggy and not because of the complaints. I don’t believe Ben and Jerry’s meant for this ice cream to be controversial.

Many people are so quick to judge. But since when did people get so sensitive if a joke relates to them personally? When we joke about a certain clothing style people may laugh, but when someone directly picks on you jokingly, you become self-conscious and defensive.Comedy in the entertainment industry have taken a more obnoxious turn. At the Academy Awards, Sasha Baron Cohen dressed as a dictator, promoting his new movie, and then proceeded to throw ashes at Ryan Seacrest. Though Cohen probably thought this was going to be a memorable, funny moment, it backfired as he was escorted off and Seacrest handled him self well and soon negative comments against Cohen poured in. This is one of the situations where comedy has gone too far and I do say that this crossed the line but Cohen should have been warned since opposition of his dictator outfit was criticize even before the Academy Awards. We can’t control what people say or do and if we take everything to heart, we will live bitter lives. So before being too emotional and getting upset over situations, try to let things go.

Adriana Chavez
Adriana is the Publication Editor-in-Chief and is a senior at Vanguard University majoring in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism.

4 Comments

  • Awesome article!

  • 5 stars.

  • Great Article!

    Often times I find myself surrounded by people who are absurdly sensitive to everyhting. It is such a kill-joy!

    I recently sent an email to a colleague and it was taken completely out of context and they pounce on me for being disrespectful and insensitive but I was simply explaining to them how we could improve our image. They took everything personally even though I never mentioned anything about their own work ethic. Its so exhausting being around these people and it seems like they are everywhere! This is why I am so happy when I meet open, honest, and blunt people…they are like a breath of fresh air!!

  • Hypersensitivity is definitely an issue, but there is a difference between wit and sarcasm. Sarcasm is mockery, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it wouldn’t always be well received, even if it’s not directed at that person. If you’re often hearing that you need to cool it on the sarcasm, it’s probably worth a little self-evaluating to see why your contempt (sarcasm) for someone or something else is not as funny to your peers as it is to you.

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