Social Question

Mariah's avatar

Is it ever reasonable to take offense at facts?

Asked by Mariah (19272 points ) November 1st, 2011

I found myself feeling offended by something I was reading today. I stepped back for a moment and upon rereading, realized that the offending post was factual. Not somebody spewing their ignorant opinions…just unpleasant facts I’d rather not be reminded of.

So is it ever reasonable to take offense at facts? Or is it just the perception of an agenda behind the use of those facts (whether one is actually present or not) that causes offense? Can facts be wielded in a sinister way, or are they innately objective?

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22 Answers

Pheasant's avatar

Only if the one offering the fact is trying to turn the fact into an insult. I can’t help what my ancestors did so many hundred years ago. Quit blaming me for their actions.

bob_'s avatar

There’s a saying in Spanish: the truth does not sin, but it can make one uncomfortable.

Blackberry's avatar

Of course not, but the truth does hurt. It’s a natural reaction.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@bob_ I like that! I think I’m going to lift it :D

Linda_Owl's avatar

Facts can be used to illustrate any number of points that various people want to make. This does not make the ‘facts’ any less true, but you do have to take into consideration just what point the person was trying to make. It is a fact that African-Americans are incarcerated in larger numbers than other Americans & this ‘fact’ is often used to illustrate racial views stating that African-Americans are more prone to crime. When in FACT it simply means that African – Americans are frequently not able to pay for good legal representation because the economy has put so many of them in dire straights. You have to give some thought to the agenda that the person has.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Facts can indeed be wielded like weapons, or even if just presented without an agenda, can make one so uncomfortable as to be rendered offended. Then we need to look within ourselves to see why we feel that way.

Kardamom's avatar

There are definitely some facts that can be considered highly offensive. Like when I sex offender admits that he finds pleasure and power and joy by hurting people.

Or when you find out that the laws are not set up adequately to properly deal with certain criminals. It’s always pretty rough to find out that some child rapist got out of jail on a technicality or that they served their time, so legally they have to be let out of prison. Those are facts, but sometimes they’re pretty offensive.

And then there are emotional facts, like when you find out that someone that you love and want to be with does not love you back. But it is still a fact that they don’t feel the same way about you, even if you haven’t done anything wrong, you’re reasonably attractive and you’re a nice person.

And there are facts that are related to our own limitations. It’s no fun to be reminded that we can’t do XY or Z, but humans do have limitations.

wonderingwhy's avatar

The intent behind stating facts can be sinister and misleading but the facts themselves are just that. The truth does not hurt us it is we who hurt ourselves.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Why can I give @Kardamom only 1 lurve for that patient yet awesome response?

bkcunningham's avatar

I’ll give her one for you, @Neizvestnaya. That was well stated, @Kardamom.

john65pennington's avatar

Like you have told me in the past, “It is what it is”. jp

Cruiser's avatar

Facts are just that….facts that make our world go round in all it’s glory….good and bad. Hard to get upset with reality and why so many people do take drugs to escape the bald faced truth about life.

zensky's avatar

<<<Bald-faced.

Coloma's avatar

Good self observations!

Well…you CAN feel offended, BUT…fighting with reality is pointless. lol

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, the fact that 20,000 men, women and children die of starvation every single day of the year is very offensive.

blueiiznh's avatar

Offensive is a feeling.
Facts and truths are not feelings.
Accepting facts might be a tough thing in certain situations, but that is all part of accepting.
If you want to use that offensive FEELING to do something to change things, then that is something very different and can be a productive use of that offensive feeling.
With regard to wielding them in sinister ways, yes there are people who can stack them up to make the whole look different than it reallt is. It is up to you not to get duped in this fashion.

Sunny2's avatar

Some times “facts” are really opinions and then there can be trouble. One may offended if what one person declares is a fact is NOT what the other person thinks is a fact. A fact should be indisputable. Beliefs, memories, emotions get in the way of accepting facts. And of course it’s reasonable to take offense if the fact it is NOT what you believe or want it to be. You may realize you’re being ridiculous to be offended, but it’s perfectly reasonable at the time.

whitetigress's avatar

Never reasonable. The offense can be translated into motivation however.

iphigeneia's avatar

I wouldn’t take offense at the fact itself, but facts can be presented in offensive ways. Consider for example, a newspaper that only prints stories that portray a particular group of people in a negative light, and another group of people in a positive light.

Or someone could state a personal fact, such as, “Your hair looks really greasy today.” Then, I can’t be offended by my greasy hair, but I may take offense at my friend’s rudeness.

cazzie's avatar

@YARNLADY ‘s post was pretty much what I was going to say. YES, reality does bite. There are things that are true and real and I think we SHOULD be outraged and offended by them. Domestic Violence, Child abuse, Starvation, Homelessness, Animal cruelty, Injustice,...... etc…

Rage Against the Machine, man.

ucme's avatar

Maybe when someone hit’s the nail on the head about a person’s negative individual traits/lifestyle.
Otherwise known as, the truth hurts.

john65pennington's avatar

2nd Answer…................

When my department bought new police vehicles, they also installed a No Smoking sign, right at the ignition switch. Thier purpose was to sell a used police vehicle that they could advertise as “Smoke Free”....thus more money.

I did not understand their thinking in this area. Most used police vehicles are sold to either taxi drivers or on a “tote the note” car lot. And, the majority of the owners that buy these cars are smokers, anyway. So, whats the catch here?

Yes, it was a new rule, but I did not have to like it.

Did I adhere to the No Smoking sticker? Thank God for Febreeze and fresh air.

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