Lately, I’ve seen a few things floating around the cesspool that is the internet, to the effect of “YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING ANYMORE IT’S P.C. GONE MAD WHY CAN’T I SAY ANYTHING I WANT EVEN IF IT HURTS PEOPLES’ FEELINGS”. Of course, it’s always marginally more subtle than that, but that’s the subtext. There’s one along the lines of ‘I made a snowman and then got attacked because there should have been a snowwoman too, then some transgenders asked why it didn’t have detachable parts, then the gays got mad that there weren’t two snowmen’, and on and fucking onnnn it goes with this poor straight old white man making fun of marginalised communities for cheap laughs. Another one I’ve seen is a parody of ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, the great jokes being that the wool must be cruelty free, and instead of ‘sir’ we must say ‘gender neutral person’ instead (etc, etc. Ad nauseam). It goes on. It’s an ugly indicator that, in the minds of many, people who aren’t white/straight/cisgender still deserve to be the butt of jokes and the subject of ridicule.
The defence of shit like this is ‘oh but it’s just a joke! It’s funny! Don’t be so sensitive!’. And my response to that is: Explain the joke to me. Explain what makes it funny. If the joke is that it’s just stating the obvious, then why aren’t we pissing ourselves laughing every morning when we chat with our barista about the very obvious weather? No. This stuff gets laughs because it plays to those who think it’s funny that other people have to fight to be seen. To be heard. To exist freely.
This kind of stuff isn’t benign. It’s not innocent. You can’t share a homophobic joke but then justify it as OK because ‘oh I’d never call someone a faggot’. You can’t laugh with your mates about ‘sluts and whores’, and then argue that you love women. You can’t giggle that someone is ‘a boy or a girl or whatever he is now’, and still tell yourself that you’re a respectful person. You can’t use words like gay, homo, faggot, the N word, tranny, retard, AND STILL THINK YOU’RE NOT AN ASSHOLE.
Because here’s the thing: if your main argument for being able to tell shitty jokes, and say shitty words, is that it’s too hard to remember not to? Then you are, in fact, an asshole.
If your comfort is more important than another person’s humanity? Then you are, in fact, an asshole. If someone asks you not to use certain words because it makes them feel uncomfortable or upset, but you continue to do so? Then you are, in fact, an asshole. If you don’t care that the language you use and the jokes you tell have an effect on the people around you? Guess what you fucking are.
If you make racist jokes? You are racist. If you make homophobic jokes? You are homophobic. If you make sexist jokes? You are sexist. There’s no blurred line.
The cries of ‘BUT FREE SPEECH’ echo throughout the land every time bigots get called out for their bigotry. But the newsflash here is: free speech just means you can’t be prosecuted for something you say. Not that other people can’t call you a steaming pile of dog shit for saying it.
The label of ‘politically correct’ gets thrown around as a catchall for majority groups to use whenever they feel their comfort levels slipping. Gender neutral and non-binary people preferring to use they/their pronouns? P.C. GONE MAD! White people not being allowed to dress up in blackface? P.C. GONE MAD! Educational scholarships specifically for indigenous people? P.C. GONE MAD! The slight possibility of a woman dressing as Santa? P.C. GONE MAD! Forms having an ‘other’ option in the ‘Gender’ category? P.C. GONE MAD. Ensuring that marginalised groups are seen, heard, respected, employed, educated, understood, prioritised and reparated, is not done in the name of political correctness. It is done in the name of equity.
Don’t be a dick.
To summarise: Fewer jokes that hurt and upset people, more jokes about fish.