The Toxic “I Am Offended” Mentality: A Hindrance to Cultural Understanding and Appreciation

The Toxic “I Am Offended” Mentality: A Hindrance to Cultural Understanding and Appreciation

In a modern society where social media serves as a platform for instantaneous judgment and criticism, the "I am offended" mentality has become all too common. This knee-jerk reaction to perceived offenses often leads to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and unnecessary outrage, as evidenced by a recent tirade on SocMed.

During this Holy Week, a reel surfaced depicting performers wearing costumes of flagellants, a scene that sparked controversy and outrage among some individuals who were quick to denounce it as in bad taste. However, what many failed to realize was that this portrayal was merely a part of Balacat Festival's celebration of the rich culture and tradition of the Mabalaqueños.

It is crucial to understand the context and significance of such cultural practices before passing judgment. The Street Dance Parade showcases longstanding traditions of various aspects of Mabalaqueño heritage, and the depiction of flagellants was just one of many concepts presented during the event. This was a far cry from the deliberate and disrespectful act of blasphemy committed by Luka Vega in the past.

The timing of the reel's sharing may have contributed to the confusion and backlash it received. Had individuals taken the time to educate themselves about the festival and its traditions, they might have approached the situation with a more open mind and understanding.

We cannot simply cater to every whim and complaint. If we were to succumb to every instance of offense, then we should also omit representations of the Pinatubo era or the Japanese Occupation from the parade’s concepts. Both of these historical periods hold significant weight and could potentially offend individuals who have experienced or are connected to those events. It is important or people to exercise discernment and critical thinking before reacting impulsively.

What is concerning is the tendency for some people to react so vehemently to things they do not fully comprehend. This hypersensitivity can stifle cultural expression and dialogue, hindering our ability to appreciate and learn from diverse traditions and perspectives. That’s why it’s important to encourage culture of curiosity, empathy, and open-mindedness, rather than one driven by instant offense and outrage.

Let us move away from the toxic "I am offended" mentality and towards a more nuanced and thoughtful engagement with the world around us. Only then can we truly celebrate the richness and diversity of our collective human experience.


Kuya J Pelayo IV is a Kapampangan broadcast journalist. For comments and suggestions, e-mail at



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