No offense, but…

BORTHWICK, Allison

Column by Allison Borthwick, Opinion Editor

I have always been amused by the disclaimers people use to nullify or placate atrociously offensive statements.

As soon as I hear someone utter the words, “No offense, but…” I grab a bowl of popcorn and a cup of tea and wait for the horror show to start.

Because it’s never anything like, “No offense, but I think this paragraph could use a little more detail and fewer commas. I love the direction you’re taking it in, though!”

That would involve constructive criticism with a person’s best interest and feelings in mind.

Instead, it’s usually something along the lines of, “No offense, but everything about you makes me wish I was blind and/or deaf, depending on the day. Also, you’re ugly. And I hate you. But most importantly: dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow – aka you – and you’re stupid. No offense, though!”

What is a person supposed to do with that?

“Right. Valid points. Well, as long as I’m not offended, I’m just going to go scream-cry my way off a cliff. Thank you for your input, friend! See you in another life! I’ll do better next time. Maybe I’ll come back as a kitten, or a rock.”

Another favorite is the southern disclaimer, “Bless her little heart, but…”

When I hear this I ditch my popcorn for some fried okra, dump eight pounds of sugar in my tea and buckle up for the ride.

“Bless her little heart, but she’s got a butt that could flatten the love seat in my sun room. Also, she’s ugly. And I hate her.”

Man, tough break. Good thing her little heart is blessed, though!

One of the hardest things I’ve actually had to sit through, however, was a terribly offensive conversation where every horrible sentence ended with, “…but that’s just my opinion.”

I have been Opinion Editor of The Murray State News for almost a year now. I have been a rational, relatively decent human being for 22 years.

I know the difference between an opinion and an illogical insult.

Two people I sort of know sat down with me at lunch the other day, uninvited. I really had no problem with it – I wasn’t going to be there long and they hadn’t given me any reason to dislike them, up until that point.

And then they started talking about interracial relationships.

It was a train wreck of a conversation that kept getting worse and worse – the train just kept backing up and crashing into the wall again and again and again.

The past couple of conversational scenarios were made up, but here are some very real things I heard these two people say:

“I’m just glad it’s something I don’t have to deal with…”

“I just don’t understand it…”

“I have it in my family…”

All followed by the closing assurance, “…but that’s just my opinion.”

Excuse me, but when you’re talking about the human right – not choice – to love like it’s a disgusting disease you don’t want anywhere near you or your loved ones, your “opinion” is indignant and unnecessary.

No offense, but if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t even think about speaking, no matter how many disclaimers you throw out there.

Bless your little heart, because it seems to be a very ugly and dark black hole of ignorance that needs all the blessings it can get.

Loving another human regardless of sex or race isn’t comparable to diabetes or cancer, but that’s just my opinion.