Are Your “Buts” Making You An A-Hole?

So hey, I recently discovered some websites that give me a lot of feelings.  Some of these feelings are akin to, “OKAY REALLY PEOPLE, REALLY?!”, while others are closer to inarticulate rage that makes me want to throw heavy and sharp objects at the person who said the thing.

What, might you ask, gives me these kind of feelings?

I’m Not Racist But…

I’m Not Sexist But…

I’m Not Homophobic But…

There are some really ridiculous human beings out there, folks.  And what’s really funny is that these websites are full of people who can’t seem to grow up and come face-to-face with their own prejudices and feelings that are racist, that are homophobic, and that are sexist.

There are a lot of other statements that get made in everyday use that don’t have this prejudicial slant to them.  You’ve all heard them, you probably hear them on a regular basis and now you won’t ever un-hear them.  Have you ever heard anyone start a sentence with, “Now don’t take this the wrong way, but…”?

I hear that ALL THE TIME.  And you know what’s funny?  The person who leads off that way almost always says something really horrible.  In fact, I’m usually left wondering whether there is a right way to take some comments that start with “Don’t take this the wrong way, but”.  Seriously, all it’s doing is excusing your rude behavior!  This is a good way to sound like a major a-hole.

The other phrase I hear is, “No offense, but…” which is, like the above phrase, a precursor to something really offensive.  Saying this phrase before something is kind of ridiculous.  It’s not a safety blanket that absolves you of whatever douchey thing you’re about to say.

My last, extremely least-favorite phrase of all time is, “I’m sorry, but…”  You’re not sorry.  You’re not even remotely sorry.  Don’t even.

I’m not a stranger to these sort of feelings.  I’m in no way excusing racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, ageist, or whatever-ist thoughts.  Part of the reason I liked reading the websites I linked to above is that, in some instances I see thoughts that I have had.  I’m not proud of that by any means, it just goes to show that even though I’m wonderful, I’m certainly not perfect.  The difference is that I have worked pretty hard to not make excuse statements before I say something or have a thought.

My advice in this instance is to stop it right now.  Just stop it.  Stop qualifying your statements to make yourself feel better.  If you weren’t a bit racist/sexist/homophobic in some way, those thoughts and feelings would not be around.  The trick is to grow up and confront those feelings.  The best plan of attack I can give you is to stop and think about what you’re thinking.  If you would a) never say it out loud or b) never think it without the disclaimer at the beginning, then it’s a problem.

I have a lot of feelings about these things, obviously.  Just please try not to be a douchebag.

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