It reminds me that in our society we are always referring to "the people". While that's a label, it is pretty useless in that there are no two of us alike. If I wish to make reference to a certain group within that larger population, there is no way one can do so without an identifying label. While what used to be a commonly defined "label" is no longer acceptable and that leaves the discussion as simply "those people." That in and of itself is rather condescending. Kinda makes one wonder how we are to address people today without a label.
The people of the upper Midwest are common decent folk, as are the people of the Pacific Northwest and the New England states. And the Southern states have a vast majority of really nice people. So, then from my Midwestern perspective I might refer to the people from New York to another Midwestern colleague and they understand a different perspective than if I were talking to a person from New York.
I cannot be held accountable for another person's understanding, nor can I be held accountable for them being upset with a term I use.
The real problem lies in the fact that we cannot use terms people like because they are changing on an almost daily basis lately. Instead, I just take the term and assume no ill-intent until further context proves otherwise.
I was talking to a man in South Carolina recently. I was an evacuation shelter manager during the recent hurricane Matthew disaster. He asked me point blank, "Why would an old, white man from the Midwest come all the way down here to help us out?" Okay, I can take that as an insult because I'm elderly, not old, his racist title "white" could have bothered me, and his gender reference was out of place. He was obviously pointing out the geographical differences as well. I hardly knew this fella (who incidentally was racially negroid) but I teased him back asking what he meant by "old, white man from the Midwest". He smiled and said, "Because if I called you a damnYankee, you might be upset." I keep in touch with him on Facebook and we still both chuckled at the conversation.
Life is too short to always have to worry about always hurting someone's sensitivities. If we did, we wouldn't talk to anyone anymore. Unless it is obvious, I always try to assume the best in people, which isn't always the case anymore for others.