Why we need humour

We’ve become so preoccupied with being politically correct, we’re forgetting to laugh. 

With the internet as their mouthpiece, I see self-proclaimed social justice warriors forbidding people from making jokes about certain topics. Hot button issues of race, gender, sexuality and religion are sacred and no one is allowed to breathe a word of parody.

My question is: why is it wrong to crack a joke?

Maybe I’ve found I have to be more careful not to offend because I’m cooped up on a university campus, but I find that “social justice” is becoming synonymous with “moral superiority”. Dialogues on race, gender and poverty are becoming increasingly accusatory, aggressive and confrontational. 

I find it ironic that people are deciding to fight hate with hate, because it makes it harder for the dialogue to be inclusive. The intensity of a sociopolitical dialogue can end up deterring the exact audience who should be a part of the conversation.

A part of having an open mind is being open to humour and what it has to offer. To dismiss a topic as untouchable is as ignorant as the ignorant people you’re trying to keep away from spreading hateful opinions.

Instead of trying to create “safe spaces” — initiatives that shelter us from a dissenting opinion — we should direct our time and energy to ways to outwardly address hate with humour. 

People don’t realize just how powerful a tool humour is. It doesn’t make sense to exclude it from conversation. 

Jokes can relieve tension, and sophisticatedly use irony to show how a situation can contradict itself in a humourous light.

Humour can bring people together who otherwise have nothing in common. When you’re offended by a joke, it’s not the joke you have a problem with, it’s the people you’re talking to.

There’s a difference between tasteless humour that substitutes shock value for substance and a brazen joke that pushes the envelope. The difficulty of balancing what’s considered edgy and what’s inappropriate is exactly the reason why it’s impressive to be funny.

But, if you’re already tripping over the red tape of what is considered politically correct, you might as well make a silly dance out of it. 

Mikayla is one of The Journal’s Assistant News Editors. She’s a second-year Economics major. 

 

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