Can I make this joke?

Is it ever OK for an academic to make jokes? I would like to think so, yes.

Is it ever OK for an academic to make jokes using phrases she tries to fight against in her work? I don’t know the answer to that. I want to say yes, that everything should be taken in its context, but I’m not sure. As I am not sure whether it is ever OK, or when it’s not OK, to make racist or sexist jokes.

I believe in the power of words and narratives. I don’t think words come out of a vacuum, I do think history and power dynamics are embedded in most words we use. And I also think choosing certain words over some others influence how we perceive the exact same thing those two different terms are meant to designate. This is why we are continuously cultivating a Politically Correct culture, and trying to change our perception from ‘less developed countries’ to ‘developing countries’ or from ‘queer’ to ‘gay’ and back to ‘queer’. Most of the time, there is a dominating group and an oppressed group represented in words we use, and almost all the time, we tend to follow the narrative of the dominating group. Unfortunately, we also focus so much on the PC culture that we forget about the bigger system that makes the PC culture necessary in the first place. But that’s for another discussion.

Yet the world and our lives are riddled with subtle and not-so-subtle expressions that betray the inherently unequal system we are living in, and which, as a person and as an academic, I try to speak up against, one way or the other. What I want to believe is that a word has power only as much as we intend to give it. And that this power changes over time and place. There was a time when the word ‘Oriental’ was used in both academic and daily settings to designate the ‘non-West’, and the word was not just a jumble of alphabet letters but also a betrayal of the different and the exotic the ‘non-West’ represented. Today, rare are the instances when that word is used to describe what it intended (or at least by the people I personally know – whether or not these people have had that word thrown at them by others, I can’t vouch for). Instead, I would be OK to use it to make fun of a system and time period that came up with that word and concept in the first place. Power was given. But I choose to take back that power and treat it as the nonsensical word it should have been. I think the same can be said for the word ‘queer’. Although I’m not an expert in Gender Studies and Sexuality, the word ‘queer’ in its dictionary sense, means ‘weird, strange, unusually different’, and was used to designate the LGBTQ population. Today, the power given to the word ‘queer’ is different. Because change happens. We change ourselves, our norms, our values. There are no rules as to how these things change and who has the authority to change them. But I would like to believe I have the power and perception to be part of these changes. To take back the power that the oppressing group gave and turn it as a joke against them and why not, against me, since I also have privileges others don’t. To make a joke without fearing the backlash from other ‘intellectuals’ and ‘academics’ who assume they have the monopoly on what is right or wrong, without realizing that by doing that, they are only giving back power to the word, power that I had taken away.

So yes, maybe, I’m allowed to make certain jokes using ‘offensive’ words. Or maybe not.

I would also like to think that as academics, we are first and foremost human beings. And as human beings, we live with other people. We learn how to be social. Do I, perhaps, feel a teeny tiny speck of discomfort when my friends make fun of Asians? Maybe. Sometimes. Do I stand up to them and tell them I’m offended and I’m the only one that is allowed to make these jokes? Certainly not. I love making ‘That’s what she said’ jokes. No, I pride in making them when they’re least expected. Does that make me less of a feminist because by making the joke, I do not question how it is based on a purely sexualized version of the woman? I don’t think so. Life would just be too sad without ‘that’s what she said’ jokes.

Academics are so engulfed in their perspective of what is right and wrong in the world that they often forget their complaint about ‘not reaching out to the rest of the population’ is on them. I mean, yes, our indignant cries about how climate change is real and how racism is real fall on deaf ears, and that may not be solely our fault – there are stupid and irrational people everywhere. But academics can take on the responsibility of ‘educating the world’ without necessarily being a jerk, using some humor and there appropriately. There is a reason so many people love Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, and the likes, and so few people read our boring articles filled with jargon and fixations on less important things.

I believe in making this world a better place and in changing people’s minds, however little my contribution may be, all the while still managing to be somewhat ‘human’. The other day, I was talking to this very nice European woman who shares my Airbnb about intercultural experiences. When she mentioned about the ‘negative effects’ of colonization – which revealed that she also assumed there were ‘positive effects’, I didn’t express my indignation, although I firmly believe whatever so-called ‘positiveness’ there was through colonization, it all becomes meaningless in face of the destruction it left. Why? Because I knew her grandfather was in Africa and worked as a colonizer and I didn’t want to tell her that her grandfather was a horrible human being for complying with what was happening at the time. Because we were having a nice conversation and I knew we would be seeing each other fairly often, for quite some time during my stay. Because I didn’t think it was my place to stain her own experience and family history. I thought that I did enough by not reinforcing that, yes, there were indeed positive effects. Did that make me a bad academic? Maybe. But I would rather be a mediocre academic than a jerk of a human being.

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We don’t need your white guilt

Yesterday, I had my very first argument on Facebook – with someone I barely know, as go all Facebook arguments. I, unlike many so-called ‘intellectuals’, do NOT believe in Facebook arguments. There, I said it. I don’t think Facebook is the right platform to conduct healthy discussions on issues that matter. Let’s face it, Facebook is oftentimes an outlet for people to brag about their deeds and their ‘morality’ with the appearance of caring about the world and humanity. Yes, sure, I do acknowledge that it’s a good way to be up to date with current news and issues (but even then, your feed will probably be covered with things you already agree with). But unlike what it professes to be, its ‘social network’ only expands to people users are already close to. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any privacy setting. I personally use it to ‘be moral’ and share news articles that I think are important and that I think make me look smart. I also use it to put funny and sarcastic statuses and pictures because that’s my vanity – believing my friends when they tell me that they like my Facebook statuses because I’m a funny gal. Yes, I know. I take pleasure and pride when people like me, or when they tell me they like me. Sue me.

This is why Facebook arguments are often (not always) useless because no matter how long my comments are, they will never truly be able to show my history, my identity, my background, and my experiences. They will be taken out of context by people who don’t know me and interpreted according to their history, identity, background, and experiences. When we live in a world where people can barely get through decent conversations face-to-face, how likely is it that we would be able to change people’s minds drastically through Facebook? Let’s not kid ourselves.

No, it is not possible to ‘have intellectual conversations’ where our ‘personal’ feelings don’t get involved. Everything is personal. So don’t blame me for being ‘defensive’ and ‘taking things personally’ when I’m being insulted and attacked under the guise of ‘intellectual debate’. It is possible to be ‘insulting’ while using words such as ‘sorry you feel that way’, ‘yes that is fair’, or ‘I didn’t mean to offend you’. Just because you use ‘civilized’ expressions doesn’t mean you can’t be insulting and condescending.

Having put this very long preface, this is what happened. It’s too long and complicated to summarize, and I wanted to be as objective as possible, so here goes – I explicitly made this post ‘public’.  (Click on the picture to see the comments). On another thought, I could have made the ‘commenter’ anonymous to protect her privacy, but that would have been too much trouble (ain’t nobody got time for that) and she chose to be on this public intellectual debate in the first place, so….

I have MANY MANY things to say about this, but will say this one thing – for now. I may go on several ranting posts after this.

One of the fundamental truths White People (WP from hereon – and I put this in capital letters because I am not speaking about all white people, but the history and privilege white people represent as a racial group) seem to believe, is that it is absolutely degrading and immoral to see Africa or African countries as both ‘poor’ and ‘wealthy’, as being the homes of both ‘joy’ and ‘pain’. They have (and still do) portrayed Africa in such a negative light for so many years in so many ways that the ‘woke’ thing to do now is acknowledge that Africa has much more to offer than just ‘poverty’, ‘malnutrition’, and ‘child mortality’. And yes, that is true. Africa is much more than that. Like ANY OTHER CONTINENT.

Why do WP go on talking about wealth gaps in ‘developed’ countries like the States, but the moment we mention that ‘some’ Africans may not practice Yoga (a very privileged leisure in places other than India), we have committed an immoral crime? Why can’t WP acknowledge that, like in ALL societies, poverty AND wealth cohabit in African communities? Why do WP feel the need to protect Africa, like it’s a child that knows nothing and stumbles into the harsh real world completely blindfolded? Colonization has been over for more than half a century now, but the white guilt coming from it is so strong that now the reverse has occurred – there is absolutely no way you can talk about serious issues in Africa, such as poverty and civil wars, without being a ‘racist’. You MUST acknowledge its potential! Its future! Its people full of hopes! WE  ARE ALL EQUAL! WP fail to see this is just ANOTHER White narrative they are imposing on their former colonies. A ‘more positive’ one, sure, on the outside, but just as condescending.

WP love talking about ‘African culture’ and admire it because it offers hospitality, a sense of community, and so forth. This is still another form of ‘exoticizing’ Africa. Africa is not the ‘black continent’ where people die under miserable conditions. But neither is it a place where children run happily without shoes because, you know, that’s happiness for them.

So no, it’s not OK to use the hashtag #firstworldproblem assuming Africans don’t have cell phones or don’t have to deal with mosquitos. But it’s also not OK to impose your white guilt on everything and pretend yoga is a national pastime. It is OK to think some people would have found my downward dog on the yard ‘the whitest thing ever’. I’m sure the Senegalese maid at the house I’m staying at rolled her eyes at me. And so did her brother that came in later. And I’m OK with that. I had never felt ‘whiter’ than that moment I was doing my Vinyasa being bitten by mosquitos (this is meant to be sarcastic – just pointing it out). It is OK, no, necessary, to understand a community, a country, a culture, a region, with all its complexities and differences. It is OK to think and say that problems and hope exist together. Denying either one only shows your white superiority complex that YOU know what’s best for them, because it makes YOU feel better.

 

This is not the end of the world

Anger, sadness, numbness, despair, hopelessness, disbelief – is there a word that encompasses all of these feelings? Yes, we do now – a Trump presidency.

For a year now, we’ve all been joking about this, unaware that it would one day become reality. Sure, we joked about being deported, about moving to Canada, and about the world coming to an end. And today, even as reality seeps in, slowly and painfully, I know I am not going to be deported, I know I’m not going to move to Canada, I know I will stay in the US and do my best to actually find a way to stay here, still, and I know that the world hasn’t come to an end.

Because despite being an F1 visa holder foreign student, I’m still privileged. I am here because I had the opportunity to choose to pursue my studies in the first place, and I will still be paid to do so. I will still pay my rent, albeit not without struggle (which is nothing new, really), and I will surely still go out with my friends for a drink or two when I feel like it. Things come to worse, I do have another country to go back to (although things are certainly NOT looking much better in dear old Korea). I also have the luxury to joke and say “Hey, at least we’ve got weed to keep us going on.” (Thank you Massachusetts)

But this is so much bigger than me, bigger than many of us in my circle of friends and acquaintances. I am deeply saddened that people would rather believe they should fear groups of people many of them probably have never met. I can’t understand how people from counties where 96% of the population is white in states like Montana  are so concerned about immigrants they would rather have a racist, sexist, and incompetent leader, and rapist!, for the next four years. I am concerned about the gap between rural and urban areas, and between generations. I am heartbroken to see that many of my students, who exercised their very first vote in this country, realized their votes did not matter after all. I am left without words to see how so many Americans have so little faith in their constitution that they will believe Sharia law will take over their country.

It is devastating to see that fear and hatred of the unknown and mostly of the different, the very basis of the American nation, have taken over the rational and the reason. This is a blow to humanity, not just in the States but everywhere in the world where people feel their fear validated and legitimized to the expense of others.

This is not the end of the world, that’s true, it’s much worse.  We are alive and well to see, feel, and experience the huge step back humanity has chosen to take. It’s not the end of the world, but it is the end of a world, a world in which we dared to believe in love, peace, understanding, and brotherhood.

Yes, the sun did rise today, and will rise tomorrow, but on a world a little less beautiful, a little less peaceful, a little less understanding, a little less united. And to me, that is worse than the end of the world.

A response to #ALSIceBucketChallenge Haters

For the past week, my Facebook and Twitter timeline, and I suspect that of many others as well, has been filled with videos of people dumping ice water on themselves as part of a movement to raise awareness for ALS, also known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease: the #IceBucketChallenge. People all over the world, celebrities and non-celebrities, have been willingly soaking themselves in ice-cold water for the sake of this movement (thank god for them this became “a thing” in Summer). And just as any other popular movement, it has drawn as much criticism as praise; the main argument for the former being that it is a waste of water, a precious resource, which, among other people, “many Africans lack” and that could have been put to better use, like “saving poor African children”.
Yes, there is no denying that pouring bucket loads of water on yourself is, technically and literally, a waste. But no, I do not think that constitutes a valid argument to disregard the cause or the movement.
 
Sure, in an ideal world, people would donate money to fund better research in ALS without the Ice Bucket Challenge and hence without wasting away gallons of water. Unfortunately, in reality, let’s face it, we are preoccupied with our own little lives and our own little problems to really care for others’. In reality, there are just too many causes to support, from animal rights to proper health care, to even notice something like ALS unless we are personally involved in it some way or the other. Organizations that work based on donations know this too well. They have to focus their marketing strategies to not only raise awareness but also to make people  believe in their humanity and goodness to proudly pull out 10 dollars out of their pocket so that they can later boast about it on their SNS platform. This may be a callous way to put it, but that’s what it is. If all of us were capable of caring and actively contributing to the improvement of all the problems the world is facing without that extra push, the world would be a much better place. But we do need that extra push to be inspired and donate “out of the goodness in our hearts”.
 
The other part of the criticism I am very much uncomfortable with is that tendency of ours to always brandish images of “dying African children” for anything, really.
This picture has been circulating quite a lot among my FB acquaintances.

This picture has been circulating quite a lot among my FB acquaintances.

Whether it’s the death of a respectable man such as Steve Jobs (I have to admit, I’m guilty of this one) or the fact that more than 5,600 people are newly diagnosed with ALS every year, we always hear someone say “Yeah, but you know, hundreds of children in Africa are dying everyday.” I’m not denying that people are dying in Africa or that we should care less about them. But please, don’t strip “African children” of their dignity by making them the “go-to criticism” for everything. They deserve a little bit more respect than that. And frankly, regardless of your intentions, that’s quite a racist move.
 
Furthermore, why doesn’t Anthony Carbajal deserve our attention and empathy as much as any other “African child”?
What allows us to judge that one’s suffering is more worthy of our care than another’s? Are we so limited in our capacity to be concerned for others that we have to choose one over and in the expense of the other? Would it kill us to care for both? And before you voice any criticism, did you actually donate money to either cause?
It’s important and necessary that we should have a critical eye and ask questions first before accepting facts as they are. I am very much for that. But there’s a fine line between being critical and being, simply put, a hater. Let’s make sure that there is enough humanity and empathy left in us not to cross that line.
After all, the initial challenge of either dumping ice water on yourself OR donating 100 dollars to ALSA doesn’t seem to hold anymore. People do the Ice Bucket Challenge AND donate money.
The ALS community, like any other, deserves our attention for at least the span of a month or two. Believe me, not to be a cynic, but people will have moved on to another worthy cause by the end of next month.
And if what I’ve said is still not reason enough to support #ALSIceBucketChallenge, well… I’m sure you’ll be a big enough person to donate money to the association sans water and sans SNS recognition.
Plus I still think these videos are quite enjoyable.
 
 
 

Korea: all that is bad… and good

I shouldn’t be idly looking at Friends videos on Youtube and writing blog posts, but I have good reasons to.

1. I just had to deal with a full week of a mid term, a horrible math homework and a 400-page book, so I think I deserve to take a break for this evening.

2. I’m on my second beer and I don’t feel like studying. And I might go on to my third. It’s only 8:00 pm. Maybe I’m a leetle drunk. I don’t know. That’s the beauty of being drunk. You don’t know. I probably am, seeing how I’ve been rambling for 5 sentences on this.

3. It’s been a while I haven’t written anything.

4. I have good reasons to write.

So… I recently saw this on Facebook.

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This was posted at an establishment called ‘HO Bar’ in Gangnam (Yes, the area that has become famous thanks to Psy). Gangnam has always been busy, filled with young people, and it is also an area highly frequented by foreigners. So to see this in such an area (although, yes, it does make sense, that you would put this in an area highly frequented by foreigners, you wouldn’t post such things somewhere where foreigners rarely go. But! Not the point!) was, to say the least, quite a shock.

Let me see… I don’t know where to begin as to where the shock began.

Was it the use of the word “natives”? The crying face? The need to capitalize “KOREAN”? The hypocritical “Sorry” at the end? (I don’t know, if you’re going to be an asshole and a racist, at least, own up to it so that the rest of us can criticize you properly) Or even the tiny I-don’t-belong-here heart at the end of “Sorry”? Or even the simple fact, pointed out by a friend, that for once, they got all the spelling right? (At least we know there’s improvement in some ways)

Or maybe, simply, the fact that some people felt it was OK to bluntly put this sign in front of their establishment.

As one of my friends pointed out, yes, it is true, Korean bars and likewise establishments have had to deal with drunk “foreigners” in a nastier way than they would have liked to. Many GIs because of the US military presence in Korea, but also other exchange students and such to whom Seoul might appear to be a paradise for drinking. I’m not saying that Koreans are polite drinkers, absolutely not, they can provide a very obnoxious sight just as well, but I guess Koreans notice “white drunks” more easily than the average Korean drunk right next to them. And so, simple beings that we are, we often over-simplify and over-generalize things and think “White drunk man = red alert!” Maybe, if you’re the owner of or employee at such establishment, your idea of the ‘white man’ might not be very positive. But I don’t think it’s the ‘white’ factor that’s at fault here. It’s the ‘drunk’ factor. It doesn’t make much sense to expect a respectable behavior from anyone in their 20s or 30s (or does age really matter?) who’s pissed ass drunk, be they Korean or other. (And I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all the establishments that have had to deal with my own less than ideal behavior – sorry, *crying face* *little pathetic heart*)

No matter what the excuse is, it is just, plainly, simply, WRONG to put such a sign. You may have your own personal prejudices, I don’t think there’s a single person living who doesn’t have some sort of prejudice. But when you decide to display such negative and discriminatory sentiment officially and publicly, it becomes a different matter. You build a ground for racism. You class people of a certain race, ethnicity, different from yours, into one single homogeneous group. You forget and discard the other portion of the population (probably the majority) who don’t relate to the characteristics you have arbitrarily assigned to them. You set a precedent that allows for discrimination to be ok in some ‘special cases’ (in this case, for private business and interests – I would guess). You perpetuate the eternal dichotomy of “us versus them” where “us” are always the good guys and “them” the bad ones. And, frankly, on a more personal level, you just hurt people. You hurt people who just wanted somewhere to spend a good time, and you hurt their friends who somehow feel the need to apologize for your behavior.

I could go on. But I think I made my point.

Korea has for a long time, been proud of its “one ethnicity” “one race” “one big happy family” history. Not only is that historically false, but it has also made the arrival and daily lives of foreigners extremely difficult, regardless of their nationalities. It is high time Korea accepts the fact that non-Koreans also have a place in this country, and a proper one. It is about time they realize you can’t group them all into “Americans” or “Chinese” or “Whites” or “South-East Asians” or “Blacks” and think they are all the same. I think enough Koreans face the same discrimination abroad for them not to make the same mistake.

Yes, this is a social and political issue, some might even say this sets a bad image for Korea as a country. But more than anything, you hurt individuals, people. Your behavior can turn an ok-day to a really gloomy one for the guy who was just trying to have a drink after a long day of work. Your words can draw tears out of the woman who has left her country and family to work. Your thoughts can make the exchange student more homesick than usual. So please think once, not even twice, just once, before you blurt out your misconceptions and bigotry.

Having said that, since I’m usually an optimistic person, and would hate to end this in just a negative and hopeless note, and most of all, because I still care about Korea, I’m sharing this other link: http://www.humansofseoul.org/

Hopefully this will restore a little bit of faith in Koreans. Policies, discussions, measures on a national level are necessary, but I do believe each of our own personal and individual actions matter just as much. In fact, we are the ones who can make such changes on a larger level come true. And for one racist HO Bar owner, there are 10 other people who criticize him/her… I hope. Although Korea as a country has its terrible and horrible faults, what makes it still a livable place are the people in it.

PS: Obviously the starting day and ending day of this post are not the same.  

Clash of Civilizations, no more.

As a student in International Relations, it is hard not to have read Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” at least once, or at least know the gist of Huntington’s argument in this highly acclaimed, as well as highly debated piece. Before I go on ranting about how much I hate it and everything that it represents, I do have to acknowledge that maybe it didn’t seem that crazy when it was first written. After all, when we look at many of the conflicts occurring today in the world, Huntington’s argument seems to rather make sense. We see ‘clashes’ between the “West” and the “non-West”, to put it in a very simplified version, in various forms and throughout various places. So yes, the theory of a clash of civilizations seems the easy explanation to go ahead with.

And that is everything that is wrong with this theory. It’s an easy, lazy and irresponsible explanation. “We are different, so we obviously have to fight one another. There’s nothing that can be done. Deal with it.” I don’t deny the existence of different cultures or the variations that geography and tradition can engender. God knows there is not a day that passes by without me thinking “The US and Korea are so different…”. But to say that the differences lie in our respective ‘civilizations’ and to say that it is those dissimilarities that are at the root of the conflicts, to which so many innocent lives fall victim, is to ignore the social, political and economic institutions and complexities at hand that perpetuate the gaps that eventually lead to these conflicts. Words and concepts like “culture”, “civilization” and “race” are shields we can easily brandish at the mention of anything disturbing the image and impression of “peace” and “stability” and then just shrug because nothing can be done. They are none other than coward excuses we give ourselves for not making the effort to try change things that can be changed. They are attractive illusions that hide away the real causes, such as the prejudices perpetuated by social institutions, the inequalities indefinitely passed on through politics, and the discrepancies induced by economics. Worst of all, they are appealing enough for a large number of people to believe in them, thereby allowing the current faulty system to sustain itself.

(On another note, maybe it’s unfair to Mr. Huntington to forever be reminded as the man who wrote about the clash of civilizations and to still be criticized about it, nearly two decades later, by students who haven’t even published an article in a journal, let alone, written a book.)

To laugh or not to laugh, that is the question.

As a woman and an Asian, I believe that it is important and almost necessary to have a sense of humor. I have gone through quite a few stances of discrimination based on those two criteria, as if they were the only ones to define who I am, and no doubt, I will still have more to face. Sometimes I’m consumed with frustration, and I will voice how I feel, because it is important to let others know that some things are just wrong. But many other times, I think it’s necessary to have the power and the self-confidence to laugh at them, brush them off, and continue on, because there is more to care in life than the hopeless stupidity and callousness of some people. And quite frankly, some things are just too funny not to laugh at.

Whatcha gonna do? Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

Whatcha gonna do? Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

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That is why, when a news anchor at KTVU said the ‘wrong names’ during a news broadcast, I didn’t think it was a big deal. Sure, when I saw the Korean article that dealt with the issue, I was somewhat a bit offended, but I thought the joke was rather on the broadcasting company than on the Asians. For one thing, who the hell ‘confirmed’ these names? The act of ‘confirming’ something is to verify something you already know is right. Secondly, blaming it on the ‘intern who ‘acted outside of his scope of authority’ and hence got fired is a lame excuse. I don’t care if it’s the US, we all know that interns in any country don’t hold responsibilities important enough to confirm such sensitive information (my milder version of saying ‘they are considered as shit’). Finally, didn’t anybody, literally, anybody, any one person, have the decency to check the script just once, before it went on air? The viewers knew the moment they heard it and saw it, so unless everybody at KTVU is blind AND deaf, I don’t see how this kind of ‘accident’ could have happened.

On the other hand, in their defense, KTVU is a FOX affiliate, so… well, ’nuff said. The joke is on THEIR incompetency.

But after reading some other reactions and especially the comments on the news articles, where everybody seemed to think it was just a stupid joke and thus not cause enough to get mad at, discomfort slowly sipped in. Where do you draw the line between ‘making a joke’ and ‘being offensive and plain racist’?

I think at the base of all kind of discrimination lies a structure of power and dominance (doh), the unspoken, yet underlying feeling that one is superior to the other. The one who has the power is often unaware of his position (for the sake of easier writing and reading, I will use the pronoun ‘he’) because it has been so throughout history and he has never actually and actively thought he was superior to his neighbor. The one on whom power is exercised may also be unaware of his submissive status, for the same reasons. But such case is less common than the former one; the one who has had to live under the unchallenged coercive authority of the dominating class is often quite aware of the inferiority that has been imposed on him. The dominating class may thus engage into activities that it deems worthy and supporting equality, but said activities may not be perceived the same way from the dominated class.

Sure, this may all sound very communist and old school, reminiscent of imperialism and colonialism, but it doesn’t take much to see that the same still applies to the current and unfortunately, diverse kinds of discrimination a vast majority of people have to go through in their lives.

Whether or not it was, objectively, funny, is not the question anymore when the group of people the joke involves or is directed at has taken offense. Sure, there will always be people who are going to be discontent (haters gonna be haters), no matter what. But I’m not talking about extreme cases or such people. When offense has been made, maybe it’s a sign that things have gone too far and maybe the right thing to do is to give it a second thought, to see the underlying issues and differences we often overlook because we’re trying too hard to ‘have a laugh at things’ and take things lightly.

It’s tiring to always look for things to criticize in everything, but that doesn’t mean we always have to have our critical switch turned off.

Laugh at Bill Burr, Russell Peters or Louis C.K., but when a TV news ‘makes a mistake’, maybe you’re not simply looking at a ‘mistake’ but at the tip of the iceberg that is called ‘why some things are still wrong in this world’. Haha.