I want to talk about racist, sexist and bigoted jokes. A lot of times when people condemn these jokes, they are referred to as being too sensitive or being members of the “fun police”.
They’d say, “what?! It’s just a joke! You know I’m not racist, c’mon!”
Sometimes, when they see that the subjects of the jokes aren’t playing, they’d get angry and say something to the effect of “wait, you don’t actually think I’m racist do you?!”
I call that the IIPV move otherwise known as:
Insist your insult is a joke and then
No acknowledgement of the impact of their actions. Just indignation.
So... here’s why those jokes aren’t actually funny:
It’s triggering: It’s a reminder of the oppression that exists in our societies today and the many times the oppressed have had to hide parts of themselves to fit in at the risk of a loss of status, position and/or influence.
It perpetuates a dangerous cycle of ignorance and dehumanization: You make it okay to use language that marginalizes people which becomes culture (work culture, school culture, locker room culture, etc.) When it becomes culture that’s accepted, you silence people that are affected because they sometimes feel that speaking up will further separate them from the group. Additionally, when it becomes culture, the subjects of your jokes become objects as in less than human. As in easy to overlook, dismiss, demean, ridicule and belittle.
Just because you don’t intend to be racist, sexist or bigoted with your comments doesn’t mean you are not. It also doesn’t mean you get off scot-free.
Here’s the good thing though.
You can change.
You can stop.
When you decide to stop making racial, sexist and bigoted jokes the norm, it doesn’t mean you’re being politically correct.
It means you’re not being hurtful.