So-called social justice warriors have no sense of humour. Before these pesky do-gooders came along, we were free to joke about anything – racism, rape, disability, nothing was off limits! Now, you can’t even hint at a racial stereotype in a joke without being bullied off Twitter. It’s political correctness gone mad!
At least, that’s what MRAs, UKIP supporters, and the anti-political correctness brigade would like you to think.
They want you to think that the new world order hates laughing and wants everyone to be serious and miserable all of the time.
What these people don’t realise, however, is that it’s not jokes we want to eliminate, it’s prejudice.
It’s not that we have no sense of humour. It’s not that we hate comedy. It’s that your racist joke just isn’t fucking funny.
Do you know what is funny? Satire. Or slapstick. Or wordplay. Or amusing anecdotes. Do you know what’s not funny? Bigotry.[bctt tweet=”Do you know what’s funny? Satire. Do you know what’s not funny? Bigotry.” username=”oawoodward”]
See, the thing about comedy is it’s supposed to punch up, not down. Comedy should amuse, entertain, delight – it should not harm. I’m not saying mockery is off limits – hell, many people deserve to be mocked mercilessly. People like David Cameron or Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. Not people who happen to be different from you.
‘But a joke’s just a joke!’ I hear you cry. ‘It can do no harm!’ Alas, poor racist, you are wrong.
When you tell a racist joke, one based on stereotypes – stereotypes built on centuries of oppression, discrimination, violence, and murder – you are supporting the notion that these people that you’re mocking are lesser. There’s nothing clever about your joke – there’s no wordplay, no satire, no clever little trick. At the end of the day it simply boils down to ‘LOL BLACK PEOPLE, AMIRIGHT’.
‘But black people tell racist jokes about white people all the time,’ you plead desperately.
Wrong again, my bigoted friend. When a black person makes a joke about a white person, it’s not racism. Is it unkind? Possibly. Is it justified? Absolutely. Do you know why? Because of the aforementioned oppression, discrimination, violence, and murder. My ancestors and contemporaries have spent the majority of history treating people of colour as lesser, inhuman, unworthy of respect; so if a person of colour wants to mock my dancing or my hair or my inability to process spicy food, then go for it. Be my guest. I’ll probably laugh along with you.
Racism is, by definition, institutionalised. It’s perfidious, infecting every aspect of life – from our schools to our hospitals to our justice systems to our supermarkets. So when a white person tells a racist joke, they’re upholding the oppressive status quo, they’re supporting the racist institutions. When a black person tells a joke mocking a white person, they’re trying to restore a little balance to the world, they’re fighting back against the bully.
So next time you’re tempted to use the N word in the pub, or tell a joke about black people and fried chicken, take a step back and think: is this really funny, or is it just really racist?[bctt tweet=”You’re not a comedian, you’re just a fucking racist” username=”oawoodward”]