With all this snowy weather, I am stuck in with a blizzard raging outside my window, wondering about snowflakes.

You have probably heard the name “snowflake” used for a delicate person who is easy to offend. Does it make you wonder where the line is between offensive and not?

I find, people jump in to defend others, even when they themselves are not offended, because the other person is offended on their behalf. This, to me, is similar to political correctness, where certain types make it their duty to police speech and decide which words should not be used, creating a minefield out of communication.

The culprit: ASSUMPTION. One employer used to say: “Never Assume. It makes an Ass of U and me”. I think it is always the assumption that causes the problem, although people don’t seem to have universally agreed that and people ask me why I don’t mind something because THEY have made an assumption that is not the case.

If I am fat, then someone just saying I am fat is, apart from not being news, just stating a fact. There is nothing else to it. They are not saying why they think I am fat or assuming what I eat. There is no unspoken opinion or judgment quaking in the wings. I have heard thin people say they get annoyed when someone accuses them of not eating enough, which means, likewise, the uninformed judgement or assumption is the cause of offense, not the fact.

When another friend comes along and says “why do you keep eating apple crumble?” that is the assumption, not the fact. The opinion someone is fat is undeclared out loud, making it seem more shameful. We assume that we are all to blame. We are all partly responsible but also partly beholden to genetics.

For thousands of years, our ancestors were either moving about to different degrees, following herds, hunting and finding better places to set up camp and some of our ancestors started settling in one place and planting fields of crops before others. These variables will decide how our bodies deal with food and what foods are best for us.  Please do not assume this is any kind of cop out, as we may have a society that prefers thin people as nicer to look at but fatter people would survive a famine better, so if we had another ice age, fatter people would become more valuable as an asset to aid survival. So there. (Just joking).

Therefore, the assumption is always the offensive bit.

Freedom of Speech has suffered as a result. We need to tell the difference between fact and assumption.

I believe Freedom of Speech is the freedom to express any opinion you choose (when declared as an opinion as facts need to be qualified) without threat of attack, either verbal in the form of criticism, abuse, name calling or anything else. If we stick to discussing the point in hand instead of each other, anything can be discussed without it becoming a hot potato.



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