The question "What’s a single word that means Contagious Happiness" was recently put on hold. But before it was put on hold, I commented on how I personally found it mildly offensive, and how I felt certain other people might find it even more so. Why?
I am searching for a single word that means contagious happiness or infectious happiness . . ."
That part of the question is just fine. But then it continues:
. . . this is as I am wanting it for a name of a Dane crew consisting of Down syndrome kids 😁
The context behind this is unclear. It's conceivable that the question really was asking for something related to a very specific group of people. (Although I find it unlikely.)
However, in my mind, and especially because of the smiley face at the end, I immediately found it to be at least be potentially offensive. (Taking it at face value, I was offended.)
In case my comments disappear, this is what I had said:
To me, with the smiley face at the end of the sentence, Down children are being made the object of ridicule. It's taking a medical condition and saying it's an example of contagious happiness or infectious happiness. I find it disrespectful and minimizing. I'm not saying it's intentionally offensive, but it bothers me and it might bother those people who have actual experience with Down syndrome even more. But that's also why I asked for clarification. The smiley face makes it sound like a joke at the group's expense.
I've known people with Down syndrome, and their families and caregivers. As with any other group of people, they don't like being lumped together and characterized in a particular and stereotypical way—it depersonalizes them. It's fine to say that a person is one way or another, but it's not fine to say that "all of them" are that way.
Now, I don't have Down syndrome myself. Nor does anyone in my family or any of my friends. (But, as I said, I have spent time with people who've had Down syndrome.) So, maybe that doesn't give me the right to object on their behalf. I'm not sure.
I do know that when that when a recent answer that referenced coloured girls was posted (it can only be seen by those who have 10K reputation), that answer was deleted because it offended somebody—even though that wasn't its intent.
The example used in this question (at least without good clarification as to context) offends me. Perhaps not as much as the other answer offended the other person, but I still do find it offensive to some degree, I suspect some others might find it more so, and I'm wondering why it should not be treated in the same way as that answer (which was was deleted when its poster refused to rephrase it.)
I am arguing to have that particular portion of the question deleted, replaced, or clarified by the original poster. Alternatively, I feel that the question itself should deleted.
I don't feel that this is essentially any different than the answer about coloured girls. It's not even an objective song lyric, but a potential joke told at somebody else's expense.
Update: I wanted to give this question, and its answers, some time to settle before adding anything else. I have a few comments to add at this point:
This really has nothing to do with what anybody's personal opinion is about the phrasing used in the question. It's somewhat irrelevant if you think it's offensive. The real question (or how I'd intended it to be take) was what are the criteria for dealing with a question that somebody finds is offensive—even if that's subjective. As such, it doesn't matter why I object to the phrasing in this question (so, there is no point in debating or defending that point), it simply matters that I do.
I'm perfectly happy knowing that a majority of people don't find the question, as it's phrased, offensive. That's a good thing.
I'm still curious why modifying the question to remove a specific reference that doesn't seem to be relevant to the question is a bad thing.
It would be very helpful if the person who actually posed the question would weigh-in. As it stands, it's pure speculation as to what their intent was. Even as I've said in my comments, I can see certain contexts where everything asked is relevant. It just seems that, barring actual clarification, it's dubious. And people making assumptions about the intent or target of the question (myself included!) are doing just that—making assumptions.
I'm still unclear as to the difference between the disposition of this question and the disposition of the answer I referenced. That answer got deleted on the basis of a single person complaining. Granted, it had a better community reception for its deletion. If that's the guiding principle, I'm fine with that. I'd just like it to be spelled out so that there's some objective criteria that's made known.
Finally, I'm not advocating to have this question reopened—or even deleted. I'd simply like it edited to remove the piece I (still) find to be questionable. Barring input from the person who posed the question, it doesn't seem as if it would harm it to have the reference to Down syndrome children (specifically) removed. I understand that it's closed, and it may mostly be a moot point, but I'm debating the principle more than anything else.