We live in a time of great offense. We all seem to be offended by one another. In fact, it sometimes feels like many of us are eager to find and call out offensive behavior.

I feel strongly that silence in the face of bigoted, destructive, or unconscious behavior enables that behavior. Silence is complicity. Action is needed.

But I worry that we can misunderstand being offended as the noble, helpful response. I don’t think we need to be offended to counter the behavior we find unhelpful. We don’t need to take it as a personal affront. We don’t need to be disgusted.

To me, the most noble, helpful, and difficult endeavor is to find some way to challenge this unhelpful behavior without making it about us and without passing judgment on others.

Published by Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA with his partner Sara, child Owen, and cat Winnie.

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