“It Was Just A Joke”

The Harm Behind Offensive Jokes

(Graphic by Eva Mayrose)

(Graphic by Eva Mayrose)

Eva Mayrose, Reporter

From seemingly harmless jokes, to forward and flagrant racist and homophobic comments, you’d be surprised how many seriously offensive topics can be excused because they were “just a joke.”

Since rising prejudices in the 1950s, minorities have sunk to being the punchline of now outdated and stereotypical jokes.  

Though, even now in 2022, adolescent society unfortunately hasn’t grown out of this meager attempt to tear down those who are different.  

The issue is, what really is the punchline?  What part of making fun of someone’s religion, sexual orientation, race or gender identity is funny?  

What’s even more saddening is the increasing context in which such jokes are heard on our very own PVHS campus.  

Throughout my three years at this school I have heard anti-semetic comments addressed to my Jewish friends, racist jokes said in classrooms, as well as transphobic and homophobic statements made to draw attention to LGBTQ+ students.  

Although people often pass them off as jokes, what they don’t realize is that while you may have just been messing around with your friends by saying something like “gross, that’s so gay,” you have unintentionally (or in some cases, intentionally) offended LGBTQ+ students around you.  

The same goes for harmful, racist comments that may have lasted a few seconds for the person who tells the joke, but can stick with someone of that ethnic group for years, along with the feeling of being unwelcome and unsafe in what is supposed to be an accepting environment. 

After decades of putting up with offensive jokes, it’s time to give minority groups grace and retire outdated and stereotypical comments to create a sense of respect and unity in our school and community.