When I was in Resident Advisor training, one of the things we talked about for social and cultural sensitivity was owning your impact. Meaning regardless of what your intentions are, your words affect others in different ways, and if you unintentionally offend someone you should acknowledge that and take responsibility for it. While I do endorse this philosophy I think the reverse is also important. If someone says something that offends us we should assume their intentions were not malicious and try not to take it personally. We should try to recognize that our own perspective and experiences determine what offends us and not everyone shares those experiences. I’m not blaming the offendee or defending the offender (or vice versa), I just think it’s always best to seek understanding if nothing else.


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