Obviously it's racist if it's malicious and serious, but there was a conversation the other day at work, in which someone from the US was described as `being a bit flag wavy` (i.e. irrationally patriotic) and someone from Malta was described as coming from somewhere that's a bit backward.
Now it was all said to the person in question in good humour and no one took the slightest offense (voluntarily entered into `banter` etc). On the other hand, the jokes were made on the basis of national stereotypes. Is that racist? And if not, what removes the racist connotation of the statements? Is it because it's not intended seriously, or because the recipient `accepts` the joke, or what? And if it is racist, why isn't the recipient bothered by it?
The reason it got me thinking was a separate incident a white ago where a friend got in trouble for sending an email at work that was deemed offensive, only the recipient didn't consider it offensive, but the manager who saw it did. It seemed weird to me that you could get in trouble for a purportedly offensive statement that wasn't offensive to the only person it was sent to, but I'm struggling with whether or not something can remain offensive/racist/whatever if the person who is subject of the statement doesn't think it is. (which is a slightly different question to the first paragraph)