But y'know what? The more politically correct our society becomes, and the more often that goodhearted people are wrongly accused of hatred for a failure to monitor their speech, the more this hackneyed, lame defense against accusations of racial hatred gains credibility. Indeed, that is part of the problem with political correctness: its overbroad and knee-jerk utilization places well-meaning individuals on the same plane with racists, and in turn blurs the line regarding the real enemy.
What do I mean? Well, basically, I'm not politically correct ... with my friends. And most of them are not politically correct with me. I've had friends use the word "k**e" with me, and I've dropped "f*g" with gay friends. We don't use words like that in the real world or to a general audience, because in isolation they are terrible, hateful words with vile histories. If you float speech like that out to strangers, they will rightfully be upset, because they don't know how you're using your speech, or for what purpose, or what's in your heart.
But with each other? Well, we know what our words mean. We know how jokes are meant to be taken. We know who we are. Did one of my best friends make a Holocaust joke within days of meeting me? Yes. Did I know instantly he wasn't a Jew-hater? Sure did (although I did get back at him by naming the stoner character in my book after him, which will get terribly tiresome once it's an international best-seller!). And the other day, when one of my gay friends changed his profile pic to a new snap of himself and his boyfriend, did I message him, "Dude, don't know how to tell you this, but your new profile pic is kinda faggy?" Yes. Yes, I did. And he laughed, because he knows me and he knew I was pretending to be a homophobic moron instead of actually being one.
But y'know, sometimes you slip. Sometimes you make a joke while talking to someone you wrongly assume knows you, and you're placed on trial for your speech. And at that time, I've said, or wanted to say, "Uh, no, some of my best friends are ___," and it's true. Even if it's a refrain typically reserved for racists. "That doesn't matter," they say. "The words are inherently problematic." OK, go debate how the mere utterance is problematic, but not with me. I'll probably be too busy hanging out with the folks you're protecting from terrible people like me.
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