Talk:I'm not prejudiced, but...

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Sort of similar[edit]

A sort of similar phrase starting:

  • "I used to an atheist, but ..."

always sounds suspicious to me.--BobSpring is sprung! 19:26, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

89% of the time someone says they are a "former atheist" they're lying. [1]— Sincerely, Neveruse / Talk / Block 19:42, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
88.2% of statistics are made up on the spot.[2]
Strangely, exactly 13.825% of people who say: "I used to an atheist, but now I believe in talking snakes." have cereal for breakfast.--BobSpring is sprung! 21:32, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I used to have cereal for breakfast, now I eat babies. Totnesmartin (talk) 10:46, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Surely there's a legitimate use for these kinds of phrases somewhere? (talk) 23:27, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Unlikely (use/mention distinctions notwithstanding). Unless what follows is a non sequitur (I'm not racist but these chips taste great) then you're immediately setting yourself up to contradict yourself. If the statement using this prefix was in any way, shape or form a valid proposition or remotely sensible, there would be no need for such a qualifier prefixed to it. If you weren't racist, prejudiced, homophobic etc., you'd just simply demonstrate it by not making a statement that was racist, prejudiced, homophobic etc.
There's a slight validity in, say, the "I am not a lawyer" (IANAL) phrase people use, but that's an honest disclaimer not to take their advice without question, rather than trying to deflect people's judgement and inferences about an opinion. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 00:42, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
I have a proposal. It's not exactly a straight example, but it isn't quite non-sequitur. The sentence is of the form "I'm not <prejudice against group>, but I am a <member of group associated with (either factually or stereotypically) prejudice>." The thought here is that revealing your affiliation in the presence of a certain group could cause issues if it isn't handled delicately. Some examples would be: "I'm not prejudice against religious people, but I am an atheist." "I don't have a problem with politicians, but I am an anarchist." "I'm not prejudice against anyone, but I am a member of the KKK." As we speak, I'm trying to come up with a situation where that last one could be true. (talk) 18:17, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
"I'm not against eating junk food, but junk food is really unhealthy and you should try not to eat too much of it." So yeah, there's a legitimate use, but you really have to be saying something non-contradictory as the follow-up. There's often some sort of implicit qualifier attached. For example, the unspoken implicit bit after "I'm not eating junk food" that is making it non-contradictory here is "per se" or "now and again" or "entirely", etc.. As long as you have that easily understandable implicit qualifier attached, you're usually safe. Nullahnung (talk) 10:29, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
It is often more prudent to use a non-sequitur than to have your argument rejected because someone finds it insulting. (talk) 09:28, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Implying that bigots have an actual argument worth considering in the first place. -- (talk) 21:26, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
"I used to an atheist, but ..."
This sentence no verb. I used to what? Date? Bully? -- (talk) 21:31, 27 September 2017 (UTC)


  1. G. Pavlik, "Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Asia", Pravda, Mar 4, 1992
  2. Vic Reeves

Suggestion for rename[edit]

Since "No offence, but..." also falls into this category, should we have a better name for it? [[User:K61824|]][[User_talk:K61824|]] 07:12, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

There's a slight difference in what someone would say after it. "No offence" usually means they're going to criticise". "Not prejudiced..." is usually preparing for blatant racism. "No offence" may be a more general case, might be worth a redirect or separate article. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 13:09, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Both "I'm not prejudiced, but..." and "No offense, but..." are actually both specific versions of "Yes, but..."
"Yes, but..." refers to a defensive tactic where you throw out a token bit of agreement or "concession" to be diplomatic, but then proceed to argue in a way that completely ignores the point conceded. People generally don't realize that they are doing this, because the point they "concede" is one that they think does not relate to their main argument. "I'm not prejudiced, but..." concedes "I think prejudice is bad.", and "No offense, but..." concedes "I don't want you to be offended." Neither point is much of a concession, but people feel like they are being more reasonable after saying these things.
The goal of such a tactic is to sound like you appreciate your opponent's position while giving it no serious thought at all. I think that the reason we have an article specifically for this case is that it seems to be really common in political discourse, and really easily called out. --Quantheory (talk) 19:43, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
The relationship with "yes, but" and "no offence" should be mentioned in the article, but the "I'm not racist/sexist/homophobic" variants are common enough to be the main focus of the article. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 10:34, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
"Yes, but ..." is a good and valid way to deal with an opponent who failed to grasp what's important, though. "We're gonna die, our water just ran out!" "Yes, but we're almost at the oasis." The meaning here being "You are right, but so what?"
This is the intended usage of "Yes, but ...".
In a similar vein there's also an intended and completely legitimate usage for "I'm not prejudiced, but...". You can say "I'm not prejudiced, but all things considered, I feel like we don't stand a chance against these guys." (having done all the research possible on the factors to victory, the person determined that they most likely aren't gonna win this match).
So you see, just because people are bad at arguing (we already knew this), that doesn't mean these sentence openings themselves can't be used validly.
I feel like we shouldn't be so generalizing with these things. Nullahnung (talk) 10:55, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
That's not a phrase anyone is likely to use in real life, & hinges on a rather archaic use of the word "prejudice". WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 11:01, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
I dunno, I don't think it's that unlikely. It's basically in the same vein as "I'm not racist, but all these Asian basketball teams are gonna lose horribly in this tournament. The track record speaks for itself."
Also, "I'm not gay, but if I was, I'd be asking you out!" or "I'm not gay, but damn you're sexy." is actually a pretty likely way to compliment people you're comfortable with. Nullahnung (talk) 11:13, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Also, "I'm not sexist, but the German women's football team would probably lose against their male counterpart. They just don't play on the same level yet."
And: "I'm not homophobic, but you're gonna have to go to the gay club without me. I'm just not in the mood right now."
All valid and likely uses of these sentence openings. I would argue that these sentence openings suffer a lot of abuse by morons, not that they are bad in themselves. Nullahnung (talk) 11:34, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
I think the general pattern is that it's, from a logical perspective, a completely nothingsaying opening: if it precedes something racist, it falls into what this article is describing, if something non-racist then it's redundant and may indicate the speaker's fear of being misunderstood as racist, and if it's something that could be seen as racist or not depending on the qualifier, usually this doesn't really suffice as a qualifier as people don't often find it convincing (especially after reading this article lol). — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 18:28, 3 November 2014‎ (UTC)
The article is talking about how the phrase is typically used, not the possibilities of how it could be used --Drowninginlimbo (talk) 21:23, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Potential Image For Page[edit]

I came across this lovely piece by clicking on a link from an Atlas Shrugged-bashing blog post. (talk) 23:31, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Who is it by & what is the copyright status? WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:46, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
I Google-searched the image for a source. I'll leave out the boring bits where I went through nine pages of results and chain-clicked "source" links (linking to the guy that told you it is -not- a source, people). I eventually found what appears to be the original version of the image. I can't find the actual image on her site, but there's a lot to dig through. (talk) 15:28, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

This paragraph takes PC too far[edit]

"If you have doubts as to the appropriateness of your words or beliefs or if you think they may marginalize others, the appropriate course of action is to scrutinize them and then if they are harmful, not express those things. Even if one ends up making a mistake, one good apology and a sincere and sustained effort to self-check and change one's outlook is more appreciated than any awkwardly non-sensical assertions of "I have a black friend" or "I'm not a bigot but... please overlook that I really want to say something that harmfully generalizes women/disabled people/people of varying gender and/or sexuality and/or ethnicity.""

It suggests that truth is secondary to "marginalising" people with "harmful" statements. Every statement about people marginalises someone. Rejecting 5-footers for an elite basketball team or dumb people from political office is surely marginalising towards the short/stupid, but entirely rational. It is indeed highly irrational not to change one's opinion after lots of bad experience with one group. (talk) 09:04, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

"In my anecdotal experience, Xs are horrible people! This is a universal truth!" Or let me put it this way: Is there any group with which someone has not had at some point a lot of bad experiences?--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 10:21, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
This misrepresents my point. It is irrelevant whether atheism "offends" a Christian or may marginalise them. That's their problem and I can reject their company as I please.
The problem with the paragraph is the moral implication that having views that hurt someones feelings (like blasphemy) are thus false since the speaker must be a bigot. Hitchens put it better than me:
"If someone tells me that I've hurt their feelings, I say 'I'm still waiting to hear what your point is'. In this country (he probably means US/UK), I've been told, 'That's offensive' as if those two words constitute an argument or a :::comment. Not to me -- they don't."
The point of "marginalising" is even more insane to me, since the most basic logic states that not everyone can be in the center. If I ignore the opinion of all people with an IQ < 100 on a topic like astrophysics they are incapable of ::understanding or do not consider the paraplegics for a basketball match, I will certainly marginalise them, yet without any loss.
Why do you think that denial of truth will have great outcomes? Here is another example: A Down's syndrome child recently managed to get a very easy degree in an very easy university. Telling that story might encourage parents not to ::abort, but is blatantly dishonest since with or without one especially smart kid, the average IQ of these children is 50 and consequently they will (in the vast majority) have horrible live outcomes. It seems to me that you merely use one ::kind of anecdotal evidence to invalidate the other. E.g. when pointing out men are bigger than women, one is not disproven by Gwendoline Christie and other tall women and the claim remains true. (talk) 12:12, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Sounds ableist but OK. (Cue "I'm not ableist but ...")
Context is important. You can't marginalise Christians in the US, so you can offend them at will. It's called "punching up". -- (talk) 15:15, 27 September 2017 (UTC)


... one does wish to make 'a general observation about a particular group' - though one belongs to the 'if they don't bother me, I won't bother them' persuasion or '#this particular behaviour# (which seems to be associated with that particular group) really annoys me' - '(football club) supporters tend to slurp their tea.'

How should such 'phrases intended to be one off comments' be flagged up? (talk) 10:30, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

"Flagged up"? I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. Come again? Reverend Black Percy (talk) 11:43, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
The equivalent of 'finger quote marks' - you know something sounds weird/not 'current politically correct' - eg trying to understand how dreadlocks 'work' (when individual hairs come to the end of their growing cycle what happens to the dreadlock etc) or 'this set (general observation) and that set (a particular group of people defined by football club etc) appear to have a high degree of overlap.' and 'I am not prejudiced but I hate Monday morning 9 am meetings.' (talk) 22:51, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Why people say this: The fault is on political correctness[edit]

About the section Why people say this:

These words are often spoken in the mistaken belief that simply saying "I'm not prejudiced" is enough to exempt the speaker from responsibility for the offensive comment they are about to make.

Are we sure? My general impression is that people say so with the hope of not being immediately interrupted after having started their next sentence. A common situation is that someone wants to say: "There is a problem with the black community, because [non racist facts]", but she knows that she will be immediately silenced by the shouting "Racist! Racist!", so her hope is that saying first "I'm not a racist.." will give her some time to speak, although that usually does not work.

The increasing prevalence of these kinds of statements demonstrates one of the more annoying effects of political correctness, in that people with controversial opinions are more concerned about others thinking that they are racist or otherwise discriminatory than scrutinizing the actual content of their real beliefs and statements.

Well... I agree that it is an negative effect of political correctness, but I would say that things are the other one around: The people who are listening are more concerned about labeling the speaker as racist as soon as possible, instead of scrutinizing the actual content of the speaker's statements.

If you have doubts as to the appropriateness of your words or beliefs or if you think they may marginalize others, the appropriate course of action is to scrutinize them and then if they are harmful, not express those things.

Horseshit. Progress requires that controversial opinions can be expressed (which does not mean that all controversial opinions contribute to progress...). What if Galileo and Darwin had remained silent afraid of harming the feelings of Catholics? McLaghing (talk) 11:42, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

'What if Galileo and Darwin had remained silent afraid of harming the feelings of Catholics?' we would have been raptured years ago, you god damn heathen. AMassiveGay (talk) 11:44, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Except people use these qualifiers in text too, so blaming "political correctness" (i. e. simple politeness or even plain decency, spun by right-wingers as an Oppressive Orwellian System) doesn't work. Rather, when you use "political correctness" unironically as a snarl word, chance is you're a regressive butthead yourself, and chance is the hypothetical situation posited above, where the speaker is Totally Not Prejudiced, doesn't exist in reality. -- (talk) 11:50, 13 April 2020 (UTC)

Not prejudiced?[edit]

In "Variations", the phrase "Or, for the truly misanthropic, 'I'm not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally!'" appears. Even though this phrase is usually meant as a joke, I don't see how, even if used seriously, it could be considered prejudiced.YXTQWFclimbTheStairs 05:32, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

It is used, not infrequently, by those who want to whitewash their racism as misanthropy. It is a nihilist version of the relativist "all lives matter" as a response to Black Lives Matter. CogitoNotStirred (via telepathy) (talk) 03:25, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
There are two kinds of people and I hate them. Mr Larrington (talk) 16:56, 31 October 2022 (UTC)