Over the last several days I’ve been involved in a social media discussion about political correctness, offensiveness, professionalism, and humor. It began when a business, The Lemonade Stand, jokingly asked “Do left handed people wipe with their right hand?” This silly, rhetorical question offended a foreign member of the stand’s audience. Loosely translated, this is what that person said:
“I’m left handed and I’m offended. If something offends me, it was designed to be offensive. You should be ashamed of yourself for making fun of southpaws. When you joked about gingers and fake boobs I laughed with you, but this time you’ve gone too far. I’m going to rally all of my lefty friends to boycott your lemonade, even though it is great. I’m also going to contact the news and tell them how insensitive you are.”
To let you know a bit about The Lemonade Stand, their demographic is all over the place. No matter the day job, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, the customers all have something in common; an open minded sense of humor. If something isn’t meant to be taken seriously, it’s not. The stand knows and embraces this. Their tongue in cheek online persona provides updates about lemonade flavors, specials, fresh cookies, and stand locations interspersed with jokes and silly facts. The audience loves it.
Millions of people are left handed. It’s not a death sentence. So, why would someone be so cheesed? Do they just have to be angry about something? Maybe, being a left hander, the person is having trouble dealing with the uncertainty of things like: “Will they have lefty scissors? Why do people call us southpaws?” and “Is this person wondering if I washed my hands properly after the last time did number two?”
To show my support for The Lemonade Stand, I posted something positive about their use of social media and lighthearted status updates. Wouldn’t you know it, one of the left handed person’s friends brought their hate speak to my post. And then another, and another, and another. They called me names and insulted me…all without provocation.
To these people and anyone who is happiest when they’re angry I say these things:
Just because something offends doesn’t make it offensive. If you’re not comfortable enough with something to laugh at it, maybe you’re afraid of it.