Something that has always bothered me, are two simple words.
Two words that to one person may be a resolution, but to another are completely silent.
These two seemingly harmless words do not cancel out the pain others can cause.
Think of a rude comment someone has said to you.
Would anything have changed if they had said ‘it’s just a joke’?
These words make people or more specifically bullies feel like it’s okay to physically and emotionally harass others.
A Huffington Post author (Dorothy Espelage) wrote about bullying, and how it can escalate, after interviewing a group of children and teens. “What surprised us was how dismissive these youth were of such victimization experiences, even though they related them as very upsetting incidents. Youth would describe having their private parts touched and then immediately say things like “but he said he was just kidding.””
It may just start as making fun of grades or physical features and ending the insult with ‘just kidding’, however it could escalate to something severe.
Children are beginning to use social media at a very young age, which enables them to have unlimited access to the world. Unfortunately, there are quite a few platforms that kids are exposed to that is giving them the wrong message. I found an example that I was quite shocking.
Memes are something that are very popular and present in today’s day and age, especially to youth. Most of them are entertaining, but there are quite a few that should not be tolerated. If you ask someone who thinks those types of memes are funny, why they think it’s okay, I can guarantee that most of them will say “it’s just a joke” or “it’s funny because it’s just a joke and nothing that anyone would actually say”. I’ve heard it myself.
“It’s not rape, it’s a struggle snuggle”
When I found this meme, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The definition of a meme is “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc.”, this is not something I would call humourous.
Why do people laugh at it? Because it’s ‘just a joke’. They think a violent crime is something to laugh at. Rape is something that affects someone every 98 seconds, affects one in every six women, and 321,500 every year in the USA. They are laughing at something that gives 94% of people raped PTSD following the horrible experience. Rape is something that can ruin lives, it is not something to laugh at. Even if it is just in a joke sort of context.
Luckily, there are enough people in the world to shut down a ‘joke’ similar to what I previously talked about. Justine Sacco boarded her flight to Cape Town and decided to post a funny, harmless message on Twitter.
“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!
Once she disembarked the plane, her phone blew up. What she thought was a funny, joking tweet, resulted in millions of people despising her, and lecturing her on how offside her comment was. People were telling her how unkind and racist her rude remark was. If it weren’t for the thousands of people that told Justine how bad her tweet really was, she would’ve continued to think that just because it was a joke, it was okay to say that.
There is no joke about something that is sensitive or personal to someone, or a world issue that will ever be regarded to as funny, even if you say ‘it’s just a joke’.
If you feel the need to say those two words after a comment, the odds are it’s probably better if you keep the comment to yourself.