Estimated reading time: 11 minute(s)
One of the mistakes people make about this generation, is that somehow we have lost the ability to “ take a joke”. That accusation is often said when we tell online users that some material they post is offensive and disrespectful. It would be a racist, sexist, Islamophobic, etc joke, and when people say it’s wrong, then they are the ones who are “too sensitive.” Well folks, that oppressive language you call humor isn’t funny. It’s quite harmful towards marginalized groups.
Why would you find a joke about lynching black people hilarious? Or the Rape of women? The “Muslim=Terrorist” rhetoric? These things you make mockery of have ties to absolute torture and mistreatment of unprivileged people in an oppressive society against them. I shouldn’t have to explain why it’s so offensive.
Racist jokes aren’t funny. If you’re with your friends and you’re casually throwing around the N word, or any racial slur to mock a race you’re not even apart of, you’re helping the oppression that that group is suffering under. You reinforce dangerous stereotypes that dehumanizes them, and can even kill them. It’s not funny. Black people have been living under oppressive systems for hundreds of years. To make fun of that struggle shows your true racism and insensitivity to our harsh reality. Oppression is soooo funny, right?
What about jokes making fun of white people?
If you google “Jokes about white people ”, they are not as offensive as “Jokes about black people ”, or really any POC. The humor made to poke fun at POC is entirely different than humor made against white people, because they aren’t rooted in systems built to destroy whites. Due to their privilege, white people don’t have to worry about popular humor made to dehumanize them, and ultimately glorify their death. The death of Michael Brown was a laughing matter for racists. They said he deserved it while laughing. A racist individual even made a song about it, mocking his death. But it’s just a joke right?
Sexist jokes are sickening. They usually put women in a subservient position, reinforcing that male dominating culture. The jokes about women making sandwiches for men, being their servants with a low IQ, or jokes about her being nothing but a sex object, is not flattering. If you laugh at that, then you’re helping to push the male dominating culture that relegates women to inferior to men. You deemed it ok. It’s good enough to laugh at right?. I also don’t understand how anyone can joke about the rape, specifically women, suffer under. Somehow, that’s become funny to ignorant individuals. The invasion of a woman’s space, the infiltration of her person in a vile way has never been funny. What makes rape good enough to laugh at? What does that say about your character? I’ll wait…
Islamophobic jokes are so ugly too. Yelling “Allahuakbar” in Vines of exploding objects;making mockery of Muslim women for their hijabs or burqas; or making inappropriate jokes about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) , is very disgusting. We are already living in a society that hates Muslims. To use those stereotypes that justifies islamophobia is toxic at best.
If you’re not part of these groups, you don’t get to decide what’s offensive and what’s not. It’s up to the ones you’re offending. Stay in your lane.
This generation is becoming more aware of the society we live in, and are taking steps to Iive in a less ignorant world by educating ourselves first. Part of that self-education is analyzing the kind of jokes we tell, and determining if it offends members of oppressed groups. How can a generation who fills social media with hilarious content all of a sudden lose the ability to have a sense of humor? The gifs, the memes, the YouTube videos we’ve created with actual humor are 10x’s funnier than your racism. “What are thoosee!??” Is funnier than rape jokes. Kermit the Frog sipping tea is better than laughing at Islamophobic jokes.
Just because we expose ignorance, doesn’t mean we don’t have fun. We like jokes, however we don’t like racism, sexism, islamophobia, or any dehumanizing systems you reinforce to get a laugh out of fools.
(Follow Nzinga Muhammad on Twitter @QueenNzinga13)