There are those alive in the world that seek to find personal insult in any utterance and a deep wounding in every gesture or glance. Those brittle people only feel better in playing the system to punish those that they believe have punctured them.
The offhand compliment can quickly go from innocent remark and into a Racial hailstorm.
If a White male compliments a Black female friend on her straightened hair and then jokes that it “makes her look smart” based on past conversations about stereotypes and community values — beware that comment will be twisted into “not liking kinky hair” and that anyone wearing dreadlocks is “stupid” and there’s no way out of the falsity of the accusation because, on the page, the “inferred insult” can be interpreted as one wishes and text can never really convey meaning or levity or tone of voice or the long relationship of the friendship.
When someone comments — “glasses make you look smart” — does one take offense that not wearing glasses makes you dimmer? Or are glasses not as culturally identifiable as a transient hairstyle?
What is the proper response when people with corrective lenses are told — “you look Chinese” — because the plastic lenses create a visual effect that appears to change the shape and size of the eye?
Must we be insulted by everything for personal and political gain?
Or is there a bright line drawn where people can say what they wish and joke around without fear of later retribution later by the forcibly-self-offended seeking remedy in the community, system, or the courts?