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An ode to those who begin their ideas with disclaimers

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“Hey, I’m not sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or xenophobic but…”

We’ve all fallen into the chasm of these conversation starters, only to leave in a state of disarray and confusion, since the words that usually follow are words that fit directly into the category of what the person claims they are not.

To those of you who take the effort to actually add disclaimers to your thoughts: Do you understand what you’re doing? Are you willing to listen to the fact that you are in the wrong? Or are you blind to the stereotypes that you’re spewing? And when faced with confrontation, why do your words grow harsher and stronger?

“Did you not hear me? I told you I wasn’t racist!” you say. The victims of your words yell out, “We heard you!” They keep moving on and lament, “We live with it every day.” As their plans fall through, they wish it was all foregone.

Even though Houston is known for its diversity and acceptance of all people, discrimination is still prevalent in the implicit conversations that make their way down the halls.

Freedom of speech is not a resource for oppression or a facet for your ignorance to leak through, and if you do decide to use this right for discriminating against people, know that they are also allowed to use their voice to speak against you.

As Louis C.K. put it: “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

Using a disclaimer ahead of your hurtful words does not exempt you from the consequences those words cause, and they definitely do not make you what you’re disclaiming yourself against.


In an event that occurred earlier this year, model Gigi Hadid was seen imitating Buddha by making her eyes resemble those of people from Asian descent. She was then, obviously, called out for blatant racism because, well, she was blatantly racist.

Then her boyfriend, singer Zayn Malik, defended her in a tweet, saying, “Trust me. She likes Asians.” Malik believed this was OK to say because, he, in fact, is of Asian descent as well. Because she is dating him she can’t be racist toward Asians, right?


This is similar to the classic case of people arguing they are not racist toward black people because they happen to have black friends.

Malik’s defense was actually laughable. Yet he still persevered and replied back to haters calling him ignorant with the following tweet: “People’s nerve to call me ignorant, when any chance they get I’m a terrorist!! To be a racist goes against my very existence.”

Experiencing a lot of discrimination does not mean you can’t be racist yourself. Responding with “I can’t be discriminatory because people are discriminatory to me” is just another empty disclaimer.

Don’t get this disclaimer twisted when people call you out for doing something problematic.

It is not problematic to call out a group of people for being discriminatory to another group of people, but it is problematic to be the group of people doing the discriminating.

To put it simply: Whenever someone starts a conversation off with “no offense…,” you know they’re about to say something offensive. Let’s stop concealing bigotry before it has a chance to move further in its tracks.

Staff writer Aleena Khan is an exploratory studies freshman. She can be reached at [email protected].

1 Comment

  • The reason people feel the need to add these disclaimers is because it’s impossible for some people to hear others opinions, or an idea or even laugh at a joke without crying racist, sexist, misogynist, or every other “ist” known to man. Goes both ways. It’s hard to even have an independent mind anymore lest the SJW’s band against you as a racist.

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