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Letter: Americans have become pre-offended

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, left, talks

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, left, talks with Dwight Howard (12) during a timeout in the first half. (April 5, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Americans have become pre-offended

The older we get, the more difficult it becomes to keep up with trends. I am now so far behind.

“Posse” is now a derogative word. I’m 64 years old and grew up with westerns. I’m very familiar with the historical definition of posse: a group of people gathered by a sheriff to search for a criminal.

But I’ve learned enough to check other sources for modern definitions. The Urban Dictionary defines posse as “your crew, your hommies, a group of friends, people who may or may not have your back.” At this point, I believed I was clear to use the word posse. Apparently, I would be wrong.

After reading the Phil Jackson-Lebron James semi-hysteria over the word posse, I’m at a loss [“Posse? Pistons’ Van Gundy regrets using the word himself,” Sports, Nov. 17]. When I was growing up, for a word to be derogatory, there had to be an intent behind its use.

Then it dawned on me. The dictionaries are not the problem. We are the problem. We have become a pre-offended country. We walk around just looking for something to justify our pre-offended state of mind.

Doug Augenthaler, Glen Head


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