Main Some Of My Best Friends Are X Discussion

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02:20:52 AM Oct 10th 2014
It says in the description that this trope originated in "All in the Family." That can't be right; there are a number of examples (notably in the Film section) of the word-for-word use of the phrase well before "All in the Family" appeared. Can't decide whether (or how) to edit that part of the description, or if it should just be completely cut.
01:27:23 PM Jul 5th 2013
I disagree with the inclusion of the last sentence in the Real Life section of 'Extreme example: Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, accused of hating Arabs, replied "How can I hate Arabs? I sucked one off last night." Yeah, it's kind of hard to argue with that, but, um... ew? '. The last sentence is taking the stance that this trope is justified, and saying it is hard to argue with but that is demonstratably untrue. As noted, slave women and native American women had sexual relations with racists (usually slaveowners in the former's case) so that alone means nothing. And sexual relations between slave owners and slaves included male slave owner on male slave sex, so that means nothing either in regard to Fortuyn's views. I removed it those grounds, but it was reinstated with the explanation "One would be hard-pressed to find any historical slaveholder who degraded and humiliated HIMSELF in a sexual act with a slave.", but the truth and relevence of that statement doesn't stand up either. To quote Butler v. Boarman, Provincial Court of Maryland, 1 H. & Mc H. 371, " born English women forgetful of their free condition and to the disgrace of our nation do intermarry with Negro slaves by which also divers suits may arise touching the issue of such women and a great damage doth befall the masters of such Negroes for prevention whereof for deterring such free born women from such shameful matches." Slave owning men also admitted on the public record in court to offspring with slave women in many cases. Furthermore, willingness to alledgedly humiliate yourself by talking about giving oral sex means nothing, thousands of men have appeared in gay adult films, many specializing in stereoptyically humilating areas like "bot****"
01:21:04 PM Jul 5th 2012
Some of the objections to this trope assume that someone can be innocent of racism.

Some social theories hold that everyone is racist, or that everyone in the dominant group is racist (to oversimplify these theories). In some theories, the attempt to claim innocence of racism is itself an act of racism, and therefore proof of it. If any of this is assumed, then "Some of my best friends are X" logically cannot be used as protestations of innocence against charges of racism—since the speaker *cannot* be innocent of racism.

If denying white privilege is itself proof of white privilege, then of course "Some of my best friends are [not white]" is itself proof of white privilege.

The most effective use of this trope: accuse someone of having no X friends. Since either agreeing with this statement (admitting to not even knowing any X people) or denying it (this trope) is proof of their bigotry against X, you have irrefutably proven them to be a bigot, and you win the Internet.
07:04:52 PM Jun 14th 2013
Oh, imagine what it would be like if the court systems worked that way. "You stand accused of the murder of X. How do you plead?" "Not guilty of all charges." "Very well then, you are sentenced to life imprisonment." You are only providing an objection to this trope more well-put and succinct than anyone else on this page.
09:30:28 PM Jul 1st 2013
As per response below: there's no claim that if someone tries to defend themselves from accusations of racism that automatically means they're a bigot, but nice strawman.
05:50:26 AM Jul 2nd 2013
I can't tell if OP is making an incredibly nonsensical point, or is trying to parody such.
05:59:10 AM Aug 28th 2013
edited by
^ Yes there is. "The attempt to claim innocence of racism is itself an act of racism". That is a direct quote from the post.
07:49:46 PM Sep 19th 2013
"Recently, even making the claim as a defense has been construed as ipso facto evidence of racism."

So no, what you quoted is not a "direct quote." It's a misquote.

05:30:37 AM Jun 28th 2014
^Yes, it is. YOU are misquoting, or possibly quoting something else entirely. I am directly quoting the post I was replying to.
08:13:11 AM Oct 1st 2011
edited by 13secondstomidnight
Yeah okay, I have some very significant issues with this trope, and it actually comes down to this: I don't think that describing either yourself or someone else in terms of a general categorisation is discrimination.

The core of this trope is that "Oh, so if you describe someone as [insert term] then that means you've noticed that they're [insert term], and hence you aren't seeing them as a person but as [insert term]", which is, if I may say so, stupid.

All human beings are humans, but every individual is different and unique and if you don't celebrate those differences that make each individual who they are, then you're being just as idiotic as bigots who go around saying that someone is inferior due to a characteristic of theirs. In fact, by saying that you shouldn't describe someone in terms of characteristics about them at all, then you're actually implying that those characteristics make them inferior and are hence actually being discriminatory! You think this is political correctness gone mad? Well that's the essence of this trope. It's taking political correctness to a rather smug and blind-sighted extreme while ignoring the fact that every single person is different and that by being unable to celebrate that fact you are actually re-affirming the very categorisation that you are seeking to condemn.

Gender, racial heritage, sexual orientation or whatever are often placed as categories. In reality, humans are just a spectrum of differences that sort of meld into each other, but we do give names to those distinctive differences. I'm against categorisation as it tends to reduce people to being nothing but that category, but the fact of the matter is that everyone is different. I know people that if you tried to deny the fact that they had a certain racial heritage* , with all the rich cultural and historical background that is inherent in their ancestral lineage, they would feel very affronted. And considering my own background, this includes people in my own family who do actually feel this way, so I have some idea of what I'm talking about (and I'm pretty sure I'm not practicing internalised racism by mentioning this).

I know that this trope is supposed to be geared more towards instances where people saying "Some of my best friends are X" is their defence for a discriminatory practice where they actually think that X is inferior, but at its heart this trope is still deeply flawed and seriously needs to be revised.*

Yeah, this is a long topic, but I've thought about this for a while and it does actually bother me enough for me to want to bring it up in discussion.
04:38:24 PM Oct 16th 2012
edited by kenning
01:46:47 PM Jul 1st 2013
You thought about this trope "a while", but never thought to edit it, when it's a wiki peage and easily editable. Were you too busy fantasizing about throttling me?

Anyway, how does not mentioning someone's category when it's irrelevant amount to denying they're in a category?
06:19:22 AM Aug 28th 2013
^It's a community-run website, there needs to be some kind of consensus reached before major changes are made.

"Anyway, how does not mentioning someone's category when it's irrelevant amount to denying they're in a category?"

How is this related? If someone has been accused of hating a certain category then obviously said category IS relevant.

Also, I think it says a lot about your intentions that you're proud of having people who want to throttle you.
07:30:49 PM Sep 19th 2013
edited by
Your first question: I've really no idea how you think your objection here is relevant. I was responding to a question about how not mentioning someone's category amounts to denying it. If I introduced someone, or referred to someone, as "my friend", not "my male friend", this would not amount to denying his gender.

And no, I'm not proud of having people saying they want to throttle me: where did I say that? It worries me, it upsets me, and it strikes me as really bad argumentation, but it does not make me proud. What you imagine my intentions to be is not really the point here.
07:35:09 PM Sep 19th 2013
Also, as long as your response to people saying they want to throttle me for my opinions is to accuse me of being "proud" to be threatened, on no evidence whatsoever, and not to be disturbed at the threat, I'm done arguing here.
05:34:01 AM Jun 28th 2014
edited by
a) My point was, we are not discussing any situation in which it is irrelevant, so there is no reason to discuss mentioning things that are irrelevant.

And nobody said they want to throttle you. You accused someone of wanting to throttle you, on no evidence whatsoever. Infinite difference.

But as long as you take "I disagree with your opinion" to mean "I frequently fantasize about throttling you", I see no point in continuing this discussion.
09:44:48 PM Sep 8th 2014
Check 13seconds' post again, then, including the note at the end: "At the very least it needs to be reworded so I don't feel like throttling its creator!"

"Frequently" was not a claim of mine. Nor have you made a case for why it's not "irrelevant" to specify the categories some of your friends belong to, but not others.

If it's any comfort to you - your interventions here are a main reason why I rarely get on this site any more.
05:14:55 PM Sep 9th 2014
Maybe we should calm down for a moment, and return to this later when tempers aren't running as high? Or get outside input via ATT?
05:01:19 AM Sep 14th 2014
You're right. I did not see that note. I am truly, deeply sorry.

As for why it's not irrelevant to specify one group but not others? If the discussion is about your feelings towards a particular group of course only that group is relevant to the discussion! If someone says water never freezes, it is entirely relevant to bring up ice as a counterargument, and completely irrelevant to bring up chairs, even though both ice and chairs are solid. Does that make it clearer for you?
11:32:30 PM Sep 10th 2011
So, does this mean that if Jesse Jackson claims he isn't racist because some white people actually agree with him that he would be bigoted in saying that? How about Louie Farrakhan? I know this wiki often has a very, very obvious bias towards the left, and it shows painfully clearly in most articles, but if you're close friends with or marry (out of love, I'll acknowledge you can use a person for sex or money even if you're prejudiced against their group, IF that's the motive), decide to spend your life with a member of Group X, how the hell can you be prejudiced against them? And just because a member of said group is friends with you even though you're Mistaken for Racist, it isn't fair to call them a Category Traitor to try to nullify their opinions as not 'counting'.
04:42:40 PM Oct 16th 2012
edited by kenning
02:18:52 PM Apr 17th 2013
There are multiple reasons: You can have harmful racial stereotypes that are of limited relevance for who you choose to love, or may even encourage interest in the stereotyped group. Eg, Less intelligent, less athletic, nerdy, spicy, bad drivers, submissive/obedient, etc. The list is even longer for close friends, who just generally have to be people who you like having around, have fun with etc. They generally become close organically over time and aren't vetted and analysed like potential spouses might be.

Secondly, you can think your spouse is an exception to the stereotype, which actually a very common response when racists are confronted with someone bucking their stereotype, and explains how some (generally lower-class people who would have more interactions) in the past of the majority group would have close friends of the "inferior" race while holding on to their racist views.

Finally, infatuation and the love it can turn into is has a very large involuntary aspect, dependant on attraction, not an evaluation of the person's race. That is why some people, who are clearly trouble can still attract people with more pragmatic options. Conjugal visits and divorces would be more rare otherwise. And that is why many settlers of the American West without particularly enlightened views still married Native Americans for example.
07:36:44 AM Apr 18th 2013
... spicy?
01:42:19 PM Apr 23rd 2013
It's from this website; I forgot to wikiword it: Spicy Latina
10:59:28 AM Mar 16th 2011
I have a couple problems with this trope (which by the way is commonly believed in real life). Firstly, while I can see how the argument can and has been used as a lame excuse, it seems a natural defense one would fall on. You aren't prejudiced, someone accuses you of prejudice, you counter by mentioning all your (black/female/mutant/alien/muggle) friends, which while not proof is decent evidence that you aren't prejudiced. The second problem I have with it is that because it is such an easy defense to fall into genuinely not prejudiced people might try to invoke this defense in ignorance, which is then unfairly used as evidence that they are prejudiced. The third problem is the whole idea that you think of them first as "x people" and not as friends. This is a real problem, I've often argued that the real root of prejudice isn't thinking that other races/genders/beliefs/orientations are inferior to you, but merely thinking they are different. The problem though is that this use requires a bullshit invocation of the sapir whorf hypothesis. Just because someone says "my black friend" doesn't mean they think of them as black first and friend second. It is merely a qualifier. Would "my friend who happens to be black" be better somehow? I don't think so.

I'm not saying this trope shouldn't be here, since it is a real trope in media and real life, but it should perhaps have its problems noted or be written in a less holier than thou manner.
10:44:41 AM Jul 23rd 2011
10:04:58 PM Jul 27th 2011
Exactly. This is a perfect example of a catch-22, with rarely-discussed Unfortunate Implications of its own. When a protestation of innocence can be interpreted as evidence of guilt, it becomes very difficult for a genuine innocent to defend himself against false accusations, of either the benign or the malicious variety.
08:17:02 AM Oct 1st 2011
Agreed. Nicely put. And yes, the "holier than thou" manner is slightly annoying.
04:51:07 PM Oct 16th 2012
edited by kenning
01:48:18 PM Jul 1st 2013
edited by
If you don't agree with the trope description, you can edit. This is a wiki.
01:00:14 AM Aug 3rd 2010
I don't really get what's so "wrong" about this trope. The idea of "friend", espeically "best friend", implies a person whom one accepts as an equal and a good person - friendship is incompatible with "prejudice". — Korodzik
11:22:44 AM Aug 7th 2010
See trope description, or the first example under type A - the presence of prejudice undermining the claim that this is a "true" friendship is part of the point of why this trope is usually discredited.
07:03:29 PM Sep 1st 2010
I can't quite understand this one either. Even without touching the problematic semantic (ie the obvious confounding of prejudice with discrimination), saying 'on of my jewish friends' doesn't mean you see him being your friend as secondary to being jewish. Being jewish is simply a specifier, as neutral as saying 'my friend who is wearing a green shirt'. If someone claims 'you hate products from Sony', a perfectly valid counter argument (indeed, the best I can think of) is noting your TV is a Sony. That doesn't mean you think of your TV as Sony first and TV second. It's perfectly possible that until that point you never paid attention to the fact that it was made by Sony. Honestly, it all seems to me as merely political hipercorrectiviness.
03:39:31 PM Sep 2nd 2010
Whether the semantic conflation is problematic depends whether you mean discrimination in the descriptive or pejorative sense. As far as this Wiki goes, obviously, if you think the trope neutral, it is open to edits, so if you think the trope should be described more "neutrally", it is open to you to make that happen. Personally, I do tend to find the specifier suspect, for the reason highlighted by another example in Category A), i.e. "some of your other best friends are Methodists, but you never bother to say that". I grant that this can depend on context, but nevertheless...
09:10:07 PM Oct 15th 2010
edited by
I agree, I've never understood why this trope is so bad. If someone is falsely accused of racism, of course that person is going to bring up the contradicting fact that they have friends who are minorities! It's simply logical!

The sentence "Some of my best friends are X" implies the second message of "And they would disagree with you if they were here."

The original statement, broken down, contains the following argument: 1. The words "best friends" indicate that they know the speaker well. 2. Identifying them as members of a minority argues that they would know racism if they saw it. 3. As minorities they would not tolerate racism or befriend a racist. 4. The speaker cares significantly about individuals belonging to the minority group he is accused of being prejudiced against.

A similar argument might go: Person 1: You just hate Obama because he's black. Person 2: Are you kidding? My wife is black!

Would you honestly interpret the second person's statement as him thinking of his wife as black first?

The only time this trope actually indicates racism is when the person is obviously lying or exaggerating in order to defend themselves.
11:04:39 AM Oct 26th 2010
I think the real problem with this trope/phrase is that i) It doesn't automatically follow that just because someone is your friend, you can't have prejudices about their race/sex/other group. ii) More importantly, it is very often used by people who do have (or have demonstrated) some sort of prejudice, but assume (or claim) that they can't, merely because they have a friend from the group they are prejudiced against.

Consider this example: someone is accused of sexism, and claims they cant be sexist because they are dating/married to a woman.
05:21:18 PM Nov 7th 2010
After browsing through a series of related articles, my main complaint is that I just can't win. I was born after the worst of racism had fallen by the wayside and yet before I ever found myself in a position where I could have an attitude about skin color much less potentially impact a different race in some negative way, I was made to feel guilty, and that lives on here.

You gotta give us a little slack or we'll stop trying. Sounds horrible, I know, but whats the point of making the effort if it gets us nowhere? Simple fact of life.
06:23:13 PM Nov 7th 2010
Worst of racism fallen by the wayside is subjective, especially considering whether or not you deal with on a daily basis. Asking for slack when a system promotes one over others continuously for years will not happen. It's time for those benefitting from such a system to actually put the time and effort into it. Yes, it's time for you to stop whining or complaining when one calls you on your ignorance. It's that easy.
04:56:34 PM Nov 20th 2010
edited by gibberingtroper
I had a reply here but its not worth getting into.
04:51:05 PM Aug 15th 2011
Two things: Firstly, saying for example, "I'm not an Anti-Semite, some of my best friends are Jewish" just doesn't work. Just because you tolerate one, three, or even seven Jewish people doesn't mean that you don't hold Anti-Semitic views. It's quite possible for a racist to know a black person that they like and enjoy visiting with, but still feel that black people are somehow inferior, for example.

Also, as another example, saying something along the lines of, "My friend Anthony, who is black, hates how black people play the race card all the time" is putting your own racist views in the mouth of someone of that race. It's sort of like saying, "See! It's not racist if other black people think the same way?" You know what? To quote South Park, Anthony isn't the king of black people. Anthony is one person who has that view point, and the fact that he's black doesn't mean that the statement isn't any less racist.
10:32:16 AM Aug 23rd 2012
This trope actually appeared before All in the Family, in the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, published in 1955. Colonel Cathcart says on page 199, "Oh, don't get me wrong, Chaplain. It isn't that I think the enlisted men are dirty common, and inferior. It's that we just don't have enough room. Frankly, though, I'd just as soon the officers and enlisted men don't fraternize in the briefing room. They see enough of each other during the mission, it seems to me. Some of my very best friends are enlisted men, you understand, but that's as close as I care to let them come."
04:06:17 PM Mar 29th 2013
"Some of your other best friends are Methodists, but you never bother to say that".

Firstly: If you said "I'm not racist, some of my best friends are black, others are white, a few are Hispanic, some are Asian,, etc." it would sound ridiculous.

Secondly: What should they say instead of this? If this is not an appropriate defense, then what would you say is?
11:17:17 PM May 27th 2013
Your "firstly" point kind of is this trope. As for the second, not being a bigot in the first place could work.
06:58:23 PM Jun 14th 2013
The point I was making in my firstly point was a response to the claim that "some of your other best friends are Methodists, but you never bother to say that." If you are accused of being anti-semitic, saying "But some of my best friends are Methodists" is not really an appropriate response. Secondly, what do you mean "not being a bigot in the first place"? So if someone tries to defend themselves from accusations of racism, that means they're a bigot? That's some funny logic you've got there. Imagine if court systems worked that way. Besides, that doesn't answer the question: If this isn't a valid defense against accusations of bigotry, then what is a valid defense?
04:02:18 AM Jul 1st 2013
edited by
Assuming that your confusion about the Jewish/Methodist example is genuine, the point of it is that the person at issue there thinks of his Methodist friends as just his friends, but thinks of his Jewish friends as his Jewish friends, i.e. as Jews first and then as his friends.

And no, there's no claim that if someone tries to defend themselves from accusations of racism that automatically means they're a bigot, but nice strawman. And if you genuinely find that you're often faxed with charges of bigotry for no reason whatsoever, my sympathies. In most cases, though, people tend not to make charges of bigotry unless you say something bigoted-sounding - and if so, going "some of my best friends are..." doesn't necessarily disprove their point.

Given your take on the discussion so far, I think I'll leave it there. And jeeez, wiki. If you think there's something fundamentally wrong with the trope, edit constructively, don't just bitch.
06:13:20 AM Aug 28th 2013
edited by
^But he was never accused of hating Methodists, so there is no reason to bring up that he has methodist friends. The fact that they are Jewish may not even have entered his mind up until this point. Maybe if he had been accused of hating Methodists he might have brought it up. It's like if someone responds to a creationist by pointing out a bunch of evidence for evolution, and the creationist responded by saying "Well how come you never point out any evidence that the Moon Landing wasn't faked?" It proves absolutely nothing and borders on Chewbacca Defense, if not an outright Stealth Parody.

As far as defending themselves from accusations of bigotry, I asked you what a valid defense was. You did not answer, instead simply saying "not being a bigot in the first place could work." Meaning: Anyone accused MUST be guilty of it, so there is no valid defense. And anyways, just because something sounds bigoted to one person or even a group of people doesn't mean it is.

With regards to editing it, you're supposed to go to discussion before fundamentally changing the descriptions. If this was my website, of course I would edit it, but this is a community-run website, and there needs to be some sort of consensus before making major changes.
10:09:33 AM Sep 1st 2013
And I would also add that using your logic, the person making the accusation hates Methodists because they obviously think of them as "his Methodist friends", while seeing his Jewish friends only as his friends. Classic hypocrisy.
03:33:55 PM Sep 27th 2013
Wasn't the point of going to discussion before changing descriptions supposed to include posting your preferred version in the discussion site? Most of the people posting negative responses here seem to be just venting about how this trope is so unfair, not suggesting how it should read instead. If you just want a trope removed, or majorly edited, there's always trope repair.

For which you could always make a case about, IDK, why it's wrong people think Rick Santorum saying he has gay friends disproves any suggestion his man-on-man=man-on-dog views on same-sex marriage disprove any suggestion he's homophobic.
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