No, Saying ‘Just Kidding’ Doesn’t Make Your Racist Internet Slur OK

A new poll of young people shows there might be hope

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In an Internet full of trolls, there is some hope.

An Associated Press-MTV poll shows that a majority of 14-24-year-olds don’t think saying “just kidding” excuses racist, sexist, homophobic, or fat shaming Web posts.

While just half of youths thought that slurs, in spite of a “jokey” context, weren’t cool in 2011, the number of disapproving young adults grew to 60 percent for 2013.

Granted, four out of 10 youths being cool with discrimination leaves room for improvement.

The AP/MTV poll of 1,297 people also found some distinctions between what slurs were and weren’t seen offensive:

Racial insults are not that likely to be seen as hurtful, yet a strong majority of those surveyed — 6 in 10 — felt comments and images targeting transgender people or Muslims are. Almost as likely to be viewed as mean-spirited are slurs against gays, lesbians and bisexual people, and those aimed at people who are overweight.