”How can words and symbolic actions cause pain? Pain is an active response to its causes, not simply a passive effect. The meanings of words and deeds always include the feelings produced when one makes sense of a situation. The tasteless sexual or racial joke is no joke to a woman who has been raped, a man who was a victim of a hate crime, or to any person who feels less safe from pain than someone who can afford to make these kinds of jokes. We defend our freedom of speech and action, but we cannot exercise these freedoms responsibly, or judge whether others do so, if we cannot feel what hurts whom and how much.”

from 21stC: The World of Research at Columbia