This weekend, news erupted over a man being denied a job as a school superintendent because he dared to address two women as “ladies.”
A Massachusetts school superintendent candidate, Vito Perrone, claims that his job offer was rescinded after he addressed two women on the school committee as “ladies” in an email.
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s ridiculous!”
And you’re right. It is ridiculous.
But it’s also a sign of the times.
We live in a world where people are so easily offended that they’re willing to destroy someone’s career over a simple word.
Perrone said he was excited to return to Easthampton, where he had previously worked as a principal and a football coach.
However, his offer was withdrawn on Thursday after he emailed Chairperson Cynthia Kwiecinski and Suzanne Colby, executive assistant to the committee, to negotiate his salary and benefits.
Perrone said he used the term “ladies” to signify respect, but Kwiecinski told him it was a hostile and derogatory microaggression.
“I was shocked,” Perrone told The Daily Hampshire Gazette. “I grew up in a time when ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ was a sign of respect. I didn’t intend to insult anyone.”
In the America I grew up in, people were able to have conversations without getting their feelings hurt over something as innocuous as being called a lady or a gentleman.
But that America is gone.
In its place is a country where people constantly look for ways to be offended.
And if they can’t find anything to be offended by, they’ll make something up.
That’s exactly what happened to Vito Perrone. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was just trying to be polite.
He thought “ladies” was a nice way to address women. He didn’t know it was a trigger word for some people. He didn’t think it would make them go ballistic. He didn’t think it would cost him his job.
But in today’s world, even the most innocent actions can be seen as microaggression.
You can’t say “hello” without possibly offending someone.
“Honestly, I am truly, truly disappointed that I won’t be in Easthampton in that building,” Perrone said. “I’m just sad.”
No word yet on whether the classic film “My Fair Lady” will need a title makeover. I guess “My Fair Lassie” is out of the question too.
Maybe “My Fair Person of Any Gender Identity” will do the trick.