“I am sorry to have to say this, but … . ” That’s the way some people preface a statement that they expect will be unfavorably received. Or they might say “I regret what I am about to say … ” and then proceed to express their true feelings. A conscientious person making an unpopular statement might apologize beforehand because he or she wants it understood that being mean-spirited is not necessarily the intention.That person just wants to express genuine feelings. My thinking is why apologize in advance for what you are about to say if you are being honest? No matter what any of us says — at any time or on any subject — there will be someone who disagrees with it.
In our anything goes, politically correct obsessed society, truthfully expressing our own personal beliefs is often discouraged and sometimes considered to be downright rude. Accepting reasonable restrictions — like slander, libel, and death threats — people should be free to speak their mind.
I’ve used the preceding 189 words to explain why I am going to say exactly what I want to say here, and if anyone disagrees with me that’s your prerogative. You – just like I – have a God given and First Amendment right to think what you want and express how you feel. As long as I respect your right to exercise that action, then I expect to be shown the same consideration.
Personally, I try hard to avoid saying anything to intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, but if speaking what others perceive as harsh and unkind words is you being you and expressing your truth — then that is your right. If your words are perceived to be racist, sexist, or homophobic and saying them publicly — or in what you thought was privacy — results in a backlash against you, then your right has been infringed. It is as much your right to speak your piece as it is for anyone else to speak theirs.
Time and again a public figure steps in deep s*#t for making comments deemed by a vocal majority be inappropriate. Just ask Don Imus, Paula Deen, Phil Robinson, and Donald Sterling. Some notable persons are even criticized for posting unacceptable comments on social media, e.g., Derrick Ward. And you don’t have to be famous to be in the foot-in-the-mouth club. Any number of persons from unknown John Does to shifty CEO’s, have been heard making so-called unacceptable statements; but because they are low on the societal totem pole, we rarely hear about their gaffes. And I won’t even discuss offensive hip-hop lyrics right now.
Hurtful remarks have been made against people in various groups since the beginning of time, but until society produces an Orwellian force of thought police — fining offenders, firing them from their job, or making other feeble attempts to stop them will be fruitless. People are entitled to their personal beliefs and freedom of speech.
Remember the rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” I’ll be the first to tell you that sometimes words do hurt. During my lifetime, I have been hurt by being called the N word and other negatives. I hated it, but it was that person’s right to say it, just as it was my right to retort as I saw fit.
It is apparent and unfortunate that many people — especially public figures — feel free to self-censor themselves, to speak or write only those things that conform to groupthink. What is even more obvious and sad is that the U.S. Constitutional guaranteed First Amendment liberties – unalienable rights – including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – are rapidly being disassembled under a morally bankrupt and crumbling society.