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In the past, medical literature noted that people suffering from trisomy 21 (Down's Syndrome) had Mongoloid features. This was later revised as it was deemed offensive. For this question, I assume the term (derogatory implications aside) Mongoloid to mean having features similar to that of people from the region of Mongolia and neighboring lands.

Consider a summation of this phenomenon:

  • People with such Asian descent are offended to be characterized as being similar to people suffering from the condition of trisomy 21.

  • People suffering from the condition of trisomy 21 are offended to be characterized as being similar to people of such Asian descent.

If we dissect the thought process of offense here,

If people of such asian descent were to take offense, it would mean there was something inherently wrong about human beings suffering from the condition of trisomy 21 - which seems to me to be an unjust conclusion. However on the other hand, if the group taking offense was switched, the same conclusion could be drawn about the other group.

So which group is to take offense to this?

If it stands that neither party should not be logically offended due to the characterization (negation of the first part of the previous two summation sentences), then should it not stand that the characterization has nothing to be offended about? I am calling it the nullification of offense due to undecidability of offended party.

Because if one is to answer the question, "Why is the characterization offensive?", the following situations could result based on the answer:

  • It offends people of such Asian descent.

    Why would it? Is suffering from trisomy 21 a subhuman thing? They are human beings just like us, and you have caused much offense here.

  • It offends people suffering from trisomy 21.

    What is wrong with a person of such Asian descent? Are they not human just like you and me? You have caused much offense here.

  • It is a mischaracterization... Such comparison is mutually exclusive.

    Then it should elicit a call for rectification, what are you offended about?

I would appreciate thoughts on this matter, and would appreciate your understanding that this question is posed in order to deepen my understanding of logic, not to display bullying/ vandalism behavior, cause offense or controversy.

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The flaw in your reasoning is here:

It offends people of such Asian descent. Why would it? Is suffering from trisomy 21 a subhuman thing? They are human beings just like us, and you have caused much offense here.

A person not belonging to group X could be offended by people calling them a member of group X, or comparing them to a member of group X, even if they didn't believe members of group X are subhuman or don't deserve respect and human rights.

Consider as the most obvious case, misgendering. Most men don't want to be called Women, even if they believe women have as much human value as men. And most women don't want to be called men, even if they believe men have as much human value.

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    thank you for clearing that up. somehow, i would have said it should cause a call for rectification but not offense, but offense itself is an empirical phenomenon and subjective. so your position makes much more sense here. Jan 11 at 10:25
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    @mindoverflow You're welcome. I think "offense" is a bit of a cloudy, wishy-washy word. I'm not even entirely sure what someone means when they say "I'm offended", except for the cases when they obviously mean "I'm hurt that you're insulting, or trying to insult, me". I think a full analysis on what it means to be offended would be of value.
    – TKoL
    Jan 11 at 10:28

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