”’It doesn’t count if you don’t mean it' goes right back to the individualistic model because what it's saying is that 'the only thing that’s important here are my intentions. Not the consequences of my actions, but my intentions.’
So if I can establish my purity and my innocence, then that’s the end of the conversation. We don’t need to look at the racist or sexist or homophobic consequences of what I’ve done or not done because the issue really is about me.
So if I didn’t consciously intend to say what I said, if I didn’t think before the words came out of my mouth ‘this is what I’m going to say,' then I can disavow any responsibility for saying it, as if someone else said it.
It happens all the time, politicians will say outrageous things and then they’ll say ‘well, I misspoke.' And I'm never quite sure what that means. Or 'I didn’t mean to say that.' And I don't know what to make of that. So what if you didn't mean to say that? You did it. 'I didn’t mean to shoot you.' Well that's great, but you shot me. And we need to deal with the fact that YOU are the one who shot me.
But this kind of language, this ‘I didn’t mean to do it' is simply a way of saying 'I’m not accountable for what I do.’ This is a KEY aspect of privilege. Members of privileged groups are never supposed to be held to account by members of subordinate groups.
So they say ‘I didn’t mean it,’ or ‘I was only joking,’ or ‘you’re too sensitive,' going back to blaming the victim, that is a way of stepping aside and saying 'I’m not accountable to you.’”
Sociologist Allan G. Johnson in conversation.
— Via many reblogs on Tumblr, from NYC.