How I became more sensitive.


With the recent increasing trend in social justice-isms and being ‘woke’ on social media, I often found myself feeling as if people were being over sensitive, or delving deeper than they needed to find issues that weren’t actually present there.

This became particularly apparent to me when Ellen DeGeneres posted a tweet featuring Usain Bolt. The tweet’s caption from Ellen reads “This is how I’m running errands from now on.”

I’m a black guy, and on first look at the tweet it wasn’t really humorous or anything, it was just there and I didn’t see anything to be offended by, and I understood what she was trying to say. Outrage followed the tweet and Ellen was largely criticised for the tweets ‘racist undertone’

Personally I still didn’t see too much wrong with at this point. It was actually a recent experience that made me reminisce about this tweet and empathise with people who didn’t like the imagery used and the resonating message around it. In my recent experience I made a Korean friend in my dorm. In the little social area one of me and my other peers were playing ping pong when he made his way past. Perhaps you can see where this is about to go. We had only recently introduced ourselves to each other and I was going to ask whether he wanted to join us in a game of ping pong. Then one of my friends stopped me, pointing out he might take it as us stereotyping asians.

That’s when this tweet came flooding back to me, and I finally understood. Sometimes our intentions are perfectly pure, or humorous, but sometimes we just have to take that extra second being sensitive in considering what others perspectives may be in what we’re saying.