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You know that person who always say “I’m not racist, some of my best friends are *blank*” right after saying something super racist? We have some “good” news for them. Apparently, saying that phrase works. Yeah…people start cutting said racist some slack after hearing that, according to one study.

The paper, published this month in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, surveyed 450 Caucasian and Asian participants. And it came to the conclusion that mentioning the fact that one has minority friends after saying something questionable reduces how racist a person looks.

Here’s how the study was done:

White and Asian participants were presented with two Facebook profiles depicting a white person who posted an anti-Asian statement. In the first study, the profile had photos of the white person with their Asian friends. In the second study, no photos were present, but the person claimed that they had Asian friends. In both cases, the study says visual and verbal cues “reduced attributions of racism irrespective of whether they were being evaluated by White or Asian observers. Furthermore, the presence of Asian friends made the conceivably racist comments seem relatively benign, and observers were less offended and upset by them. The data suggest that minority friendships can partially offset costs associated with expressing prejudice.”

Yikes. But not all is forgiven. The participant still thought the person was racist, just less so when they mentioned their minority friends. That’s kind of good news for us non-racist folks, right?