This puzzle is so on-brand. I mean, this is exactly the kind of term I'd expect to find in a puzzle that just this week was reminding us all of the glory of Confederate monuments. That's a term used predominantly by those who are real mad that they can't be as openly racist and homophobic as they used to be in the good ol' days. People who use that term also use terms like "P.C." and "SJW" [and the word that's in the puzzle at 41D]. Super-popular term with right-wing "thought" "leaders." Aggrieved white men love the term. And it's rich coming from an editor who has struggled to keep racism / sexism / classism out of his puzzles. I say "struggled," but that implies he cares or is trying, so maybe not.
Anyway, you can dodge criticism of your terrible behavior by calling the criticism [SPOILER DELETED], but your behavior won't be any less terrible. I'm not [a variation on the spoiler] for pointing this out. Just a sentient person with a capacity for empathy.The expression is: "virtue signaling." or the substitution of an appearance of virtue for real virtuous acts. I kinda dislike the expression myself, but for those of you who like it, I suspect you'll like it even more knowing how much it bugs the people you enjoy seeing it used against.
In order to "prove" that you are truly victoriously correct in your adherence to the tenets of the SJW religion, people need to ostentatiously demonstrate their fidelity. It's about shunning and fear of being shunned. It's about people bowing to a regime of self-righteous intolerance toward others by indicating that they are not one of those who are not to be tolerated. The virtue signal is an act of cowardice.
H/T Ann Althouse
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