Ruminating on old friends now passed on - an inevitable occupation at my age - the current total unacceptability of verbally expressed racism reminds me of the funniest letter I ever received. It came from a college friend, older than me, who had served as an NCO in the Eighth Army during WW2 and whilst doing so had formed a low opinion of the inhabitants of North Africa, to whom he habitually referred - as was then the patronising British fashion - as "Wogs" [= wily oriental gentlemen].
Once, after he had held forth at somewhat too great length on this subject, I wrote to him tongue-in-cheek, gently reminding him that one of my grandfathers hailed from what is now the Lebanon, and that therefore I was, at least partly, a Wog. To this he replied with total solemnity: "I had not forgotten your antecedents, but I can assure you that I have always thought of you as a friend, and never as a Wog." His obliviousness to the implications of his remark struck me as so hilarious that I laughed until I cried. I decided that if I ever wrote my autobiography I would call it Never a Wog.
Despite his oddities of sometimes extreme opinion, which often caused considerable amusement because of the vehemence with which he expressed himself, this lifelong friend was one of the kindest people I have known, and was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in trouble. Such are the vagaries of human nature.