why the heck not take him at his word?
Your argument is now that what he said couldn't possibly be racist because he said it wasn't?
More strawman. "couldn't possibly be" is not the same as "probably isn't". There's no evidence in the entire long public history of the man that he was a racist, so when presented with possible explanations as to why he made the "monkey" statement, doesn't it make much more sense to go with one that explains it, he claims is the truth, and which actually matches with the man's behavior for his entire life? Nope. Let's just toss that out and what? Assume he's been this secret black hating racist his entire life, and managed to hide it perfectly for so long, despite having very close relationships with a number of black athletes, only to... um... forget this and accidentally let spill his "true feelings about black people on national TV"?
That's a pretty ridiculous assumption to go to. Sorry. I'm going to go with not being nutjob crazy on this one. You're free to stay in crazyland if you wish though.
By the way, where was this "take him at his word" attitude during the whole birther thing?
Sigh. That was not about taking someone at their word. It was entirely about a legal requirement to hold an office. If someone tells me that they like the color blue, I'll take their word for it. If they tell me that they are a licensed surgeon, I'm probably going to want to see that license displayed in their office before letting them do surgery on me.
How about with scientists and journalists? Why do you insist they're all liars yet it can't be racist because they're just too gosh-darned honest?
Huh? I require proof of evidence in situations where such things are both available and relevant to the subject at hand. I get that you seem to want to veer into absolutist language when it suits you, but in the real world, most of us can tell when something makes sense, and when it doesn't. What you're doing right now? Doesn't make sense.
My point is that it's a relatively recent thing (within my lifetime at least) that many white people had to learn that certain terms that they had no clue were used in a racial context
It's only a relatively recent thing in your lifetime if you're hundreds of years old, which I guess explains your personal policies pretty well.
What's funny is that you cling to this, despite numerous examples of people in my generation and the one just preceding mine, making statements back in the 60s and 70s which today we'd consider horribly bigoted. I guess everyone was just racist back then right? Or maybe... just maybe.. they weren't. Maybe our interpretation of the words themselves has changed over time? Nah! That can't be it. After all, we all know that the meaning of words, especially slang words, never ever changes. Right?
You can't even entertain the possibility that some people back then were honestly and innocently unaware that in some parts of the country, the terms that meant something completely non-racist or bigoted to them, meant something completely offensive? And that as we moved into the TV age, and media became more national, they gradually became more aware on that national scale how their words might be interpreted, and in some cases, this only happened when something like the Cosell incident became a huge public issue
. Seriously? You're that unaware of how societies learn and grown and change over time? You think there's an information fairy that just magically sprinkles knowledge to everyone in the world?
Again. That's insane. The evidence of just how wrong that thinking is is present all around you. You just refuse to see it in preference to just broadly assuming anyone who doesn't toe the current PC rules must be a bigot. Um... What if people don't know the rules? Ever consider that?