> Under that construction, if Person X treats, say, an African-American
> person badly, and they have the temerity to take offense at that, then
> Person X could say: well, it's his fault for taking offense.
Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. The point is that the action should be judged on its own merits, not on the reaction of others. If I said "blacks are inferior and shouldn't have equal rights", then I have said a stupid, irrational, and offensive thing--whether or not anyone is actually there to be offended by it. If I say "blacks have statistically lower scores on text X" or "I'm not very attracted to black women", then I have expressed simple, honest opinions or facts, an action that cannot be judged wrong regardless of how many people might be offended by it. Even just using the words "black" or "Negro" might offend some people. Tough. The phrase "African-American" is awkward and often innacurate (if the person I'm referring to is, say, Jamaican or Fijian) and I don't-- and shouldn't--care that some people prefer it. I will be judged on the merits of my own actions; if those include honest expression to which others take offense, that /is/ their problem, not mine.
-- Lee Daniel Crocker <firstname.lastname@example.org> <http://www.piclab.com/lcrocker.html> "All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past, are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC