just because you meant it as a joke doesn’t mean you didn’t do something wrong. i teach preschool and i can’t believe six year olds understand this concept better than adults. if you say something hurtful, you’re the bully, not the person who gets upset. it might feel icky to realize that you do have bigoted beliefs; but when you blow off apologizing with “people who know me know i don’t mean it,” you’re not helping the people you hurt and you’re not changing the way it sounded. why in the heck is it so hard for grown people to just admit they were wrong and apologize for it.
freedom of speech isn’t freedom from consequence and i’ll say it until my blood runs dry. hate speech is also not covered under the first amendment. and again, a concept preschoolers understand: your words are not more important than the safety or comfort of another person.
yes. legally i can’t stop you from printing and screaming whatever you want. but legally you can’t stop me from being angry and responding to it. and if you expect others to just “not get offended” by what you say, you must also expect others not to take you seriously at all! listen. if you understand i can send a child into the hallway for calling another child names, you can wrap your head around the fact you don’t have the right to do and say whatever you want without somebody reacting. this isnt your world, it’s all of ours, and we’re allowed to ask you to leave the classroom. grow up, realize you actually might have done something bigoted - even by “accident” - and change yourself for the better.
and if you’re the type who just throws a hissy fit every time somebody points out you’re being a bully… congratulations. you’re acting like a four-year-old.