Say goodbye to the not-pology

Along with doing less lying, I think an admirable goal for everyone is to erase the not-pology from the face of the Earth.

What, you might reasonably ask, is a not-pology? Well, it has some variations, but it generally comes down to some form of “I’m sorry you were offended.”

Which doesn’t sound too bad and I’m sure all of us have used some form of this in the past…but think about it for a little bit. There’s a fairly large difference between saying “I’m sorry you were offended” and saying “I’m sorry I offended you.”

The classic not-pology is the politician or celebrity who compares some group to Nazis or uses  racially charged language and then, when called on it, makes a public statement saying “I’m sorry you were offended by my choice of language.”

Not “I’m sorry I used those words” or “I’m sorry I said something offensive” but rather “Gee, too bad you’re so touchy that you don’t like being called [kike/nigger/whatever]. Maybe next time you should try not being offended when I’m being rude to you.”

I’d like to see the the not-pology erased from public discourse. When public figures say something offensive, let’s hold their feet to the fire and make them apologize for real. Make them admit to a mistake rather than blaming the victim for daring to be offended.

(This post brought to you by various things, including yesterday’s holiday of Yom Kippur. Thinking of that holiday, let me apologize for anything I’ve said in the past that was offensive and ask your forgiveness. I’m sorry I said or wrote something rude and I will try to do better in the future.)


About mamamara

I'm a 40-something, work-at-home mother of two. I'm pro-vaccine, pro-medicine, pro-science, and an avid reader of information about all of the above, and I want to combine my love for my children with my love for science. So here we are!
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3 Responses to Say goodbye to the not-pology

  1. K. says:

    About: ‘There’s a fairly large difference between saying “I’m sorry you were offended” and saying “I’m sorry I offended you.”‘

    To me they’re both not-pologies, and hardly different at all. Neither says that *you* think you said anything offensive, and take ownership and responsibility for that. They both just say you regret that the other person was offended by your words. They both say you’re sorry about their feeling, but not about your actions. For all the recipient can tell, you think you acted properly, and you think they’re thin-skinned, but you’re still sorry about their feelings.

    • mamamara says:

      Hmm, I think I have to disagree. Obviously context matters, etc and so on, but to me “I’m sorry I offended you” means taking responsibility for the fact that it was *your* actions that caused the feelings.

      • K. says:

        To me it’s just much more clear to say “I’m sorry I was offensive”. Now you’re saying you were offensive. Something like “I’m sorry I was offensive, I shouldn’t have said that” seems super clear. Hah, words suck! 😛

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