Subject: Hear, Hear!
Posted on: 2020-06-27 13:56:40 UTC
Seconding all of this. ^
Subject: Hear, Hear!
Posted on: 2020-06-27 13:56:40 UTC
Seconding all of this. ^
We've had some discussions on the Discord about religion and the types of comments made about it. The issue at hand is mostly when, if at all, joking about religion is okay.
On one hand, making people feel unwelcome is never something we want to do. It's really easy to make people feel insulted with topics like religion, and insulting entire groups of people is obviously unacceptable.
On the other hand, discussion of serious topics is allowed. People on the server have both criticisms of Christianity and jokes they want to make. We've made jokes about politics and other serious topics before, so it is ok to do the same with religion? Part of the argument I've seen made and have made myself is that jokes about religious topics can be pretty cathartic if the person in question has had bad experiences with it.
So my main goal with this thread is to ask: is it possible to be non-alienating and sufficiently respectful while making jokes about something? How can a topic like this be discussed/joked about without making people uncomfortable?
I am somewhat out of my depth here. Thus, the thread. Apologies for the brevity of my summary.
As far as I'm concerned, we're very much not a space for the stereotypical Reddit atheist "haha magic sky daddy" type stuff, that is, jokes that are trying to call (some particular) religious belief stupid, implicitly attack people for following some religion, and so on. That's one example of the sort of being a pointlessly offensive jerk that's not wanted in PPC spaces and is just plain rude besides.
(Nesh and Moons have made pretty good points about the general subject and the difference between religion as oppressive social force and religion on a personal level,relative power, and so on, so I'm not going to try to rehash them, but I'd like to sign on to than general pile of conversation.)
This sort of thing is always heavily nuanced and dependent on circumstances and the social mores of the group you're in, but consider:
Punch up, not down. Making fun of groups with all the social and political power is probably okay. Making fun of groups that are historically marginalized and disenfranchised is not okay.
Do not make fun of individual people. Treat people how you want to be treated (i.e., with civility), especially if you disagree with them, so as not to become them. Individual people's genuinely held beliefs are to be respected. (Actions or statuses quo they use those beliefs to rationalize, however, may be another story.)
No one has a right to be perfectly comfortable all the time. We will all be confronted with things* that challenge us from time to time. Learning to deal with those things is how we grow. If you are a member of one or more of those groups with all the social and political power and you find yourself getting offended at jokes about said group(s), stop to consider why you are offended. Is it, perhaps, because the joke is challenging you to face up to an uncomfortable truth about yourself or people you identify with? What can you do to get on the right side of the issue while owning your identity?
* Note that I do not mean this to include heavy topics of the sort mentioned in Article 3 of our Constitution. Follow the Constitution and always discuss those topics with sensitivity.
I do my venting in private, among friends I trust to tell the difference between me venting and me expressing my true values. My feelings may (or may not!) be valid, but I don't have to spew them without regard for whether they may hurt someone.
That's my hot take.
It's mostly alright to make whatever jokes or discuss whatever problems, but just be aware that you'll be held accountable based on how this comes off, so be extra careful not to insult anyone? That makes a lot of sense to me.
I generally agree, especially with the last statement. Though for the second statement, those groups that are okay to punch up, races aren't included in that list, right?
Could you name a few examples of the kind of jokes you mean?
As far as I'm concerned, speaking as a white person in Western civilization, making fun of white people is fine, especially middle- to upper-class white people. For an example, take "Karen," the archtype of a middle-aged white woman who will call the cops on a Black person for mildly inconveniencing her in some trivial way and probably wants to speak to your manager, too. Please make fun of the Karens. The behavior being called out by Karen jokes is despicable and deserving of scorn. We should all strive not to be a Karen.
Making fun of people who are historically oppressed by white people is not fine. (Unless you are those people; making fun of your own group is not at issue here.)
Again, though, this is all incredibly nuanced. Knowing what's appropriate and what's not in any given context requires historical, social, and situational awareness. When in doubt, just don't make the joke.
Personally, I feel that making exceptions of which races are fine to make jokes about defeats the point in not discriminating by race. Not in a "I'll joke about every race!" way but in a "I'm not going to joke about any race" way. Also, I'm a bit concerned you mentioned the Karens specifically being white as though their race was relevant and as though there aren't Karens who aren't white.
This isn't to say that making fun of Karens is anywhere close to the level of jokes directed at people who aren't white, just to say setting those kind of double standards (more specifically exceptions) is a bad habit I personally think we should avoid.
If everyone's making fun of Karens, I'd only make fun of them for their behaviour, not because most of them are white.
(For the record, this is veering off the topic of what jokes are appropriate in PPC areas. I'm not intending this as a suggestion for Board/Discord policy, just trying to explain my perspective in general.)
So, yes: the behavior of Karens, not the race of Karens, is the problem.
However, I don't think you can divorce the matter of race from the behavior in this case. The fact of white supremacy in this country is what allows Karens to think they can get away with victimizing Black people. If there are non-white Karens and they're doing the same thing, they're benefiting from the same systems of oppression, so I can't say that I mind lumping them in.
Being white doesn't make you a bad person, but taking advantage of the privilege afforded to you by whiteness in order to harm others does. As the behavior of Karens is symptomatic of the larger problem of white supremacy, so I believe the race of Karens is absolutely relevant.
Ultimately, I feel the distinction between making fun of white people and making fun of others lies in the fact that whiteness in this country is used as a means of determining who holds power and authority. I believe those who hold power must be subject to criticism, including ridicule, to prevent them from wielding their power unchecked. This is why freedom of speech and freedom of the press are so important—they're supposed to help guard us from tyranny. As things stand now, whiteness is used as a determiner for who is allowed to hold power. As long as that's the case, and as long as white people are disproportionately advantaged while other people are disproportionately disadvantaged, then I believe white people can suck it up and take their lumps when jokes are made about whites.
^ See? Nuance. Nuance means there may be exceptions to the general rule depending upon circumstances.
Incidentally, if anyone is inclined to cry "not all white people!" here... Everybody knows it's not all white people. But it is most of us, if only through complacency and silence. I include myself in this. I am often complacent in my privilege, and I could do more to stand up for others. When I do nothing, I am part of the problem. But, recognizing the ugly truth behind the jokes is one small way I'm trying to be better, and sharing these thoughts where they may have some impact is another.
It's good you want to help people who have been disadvantaged, though I feel that this mindset you have about white people such as yourself isn't healthy. Acknowledging that historically, there have been white people who have oppressed non-white people; asking white people to help out non-white people when they need it; thinking progress needs to be made to make the world a better place; holding people who hold power accountable? That's one thing. This attitude that looks to me like a hyperfocus on a person's race (especially when you use a term like "whiteness" and display what I think looks like a sort of saviour complex tied to your race) I feel is another thing.
If you want to think that way about your race, you do you. I am not interested in having that sort of mindset.
(On the topic of Karens, there are no "if"s on whether non-white Karens and white victims of Karens exist. They're both are a minority, but they do exist and so do the white victims.)
I'm not going to try to change your view, but I'm not sure you've understood what mine actually is. I'm a little offended at being accused of having a savior complex. We're having a polite conversation. This is the only effort I'm making as a would-be activist right now. Compared to the lengths others are going to in living the social justice values I share, it feels pretty pathetic to me, so being accused of going too far feels unpleasantly ironic. Yet, I am doing the best I can at this time.
To clarify: My opinion on this issue is informed by what I'm hearing from the larger discourse around me. When I hear Black voices saying things like "white silence is violence," I believe it is incumbent upon me to hear and respond. This isn't me forcing my ideas of help on others whether or not it's what they've asked for, as a "white savior" does; this is me listening to what others say they need from people like me and doing my best to accommodate, even if it's in very small ways such as this.
I'm not ashamed of being what I am—I didn't choose it any more than anyone else, after all—but admitting that a problem exists is the first step in fixing it. If I can't even acknowledge being a small, incidental component of a larger systemic problem, how am I ever supposed to take the correct steps to improve?
All this was interpreted correctly:
> Acknowledging that historically, there have been white people who have oppressed non-white people; asking white people to help out non-white people when they need it; thinking progress needs to be made to make the world a better place; holding people who hold power accountable
I hope I've made myself more clear.
I'm not sure we're on the same page, so just to make as few assumptions as possible, I'm going to ask some questions, if that's okay with you.
What are the lengths the others going for their social justice value?
By "larger discourse", do you mean the internet or in real life? Like, do you read articles, forum posts, tumblr, or do you chat with them in person (or through zoom or w/e)?
It occurred to me just recently that I think I used the phrase "x is one thing, y is another thing" incorrectly. It probably came across as "There's helping people WHICH YOU AREN'T DOING!!!1!" rather than acknowledging that while you are trying to do good, I just don't agree with what I viewed as the hyperfocus on your race. Another thing was lumping together "you wanting to help" with that "hyperfocus" by talking about a vague "mindset". I apologize for the confusion that came from my poor phrasing.
As for the saviour complex accusation I made, it was inconsiderate of me to accuse you of having one and to phrase it the way I did, so I apologize for that as well.
Seconding all of this. ^
As a frequent joker about christianity, I adhere to the same general rule as "the straights are at it again" jokes: there is a difference between the majority, who are just trying to live their lives, and The Majority(tm), who are nffholes about it. Said distinction is implicit in jokes at the expense of The Majority(tm), and no offense to the majority is intended. (I hope that makes some kind of sense, I just woke up.)
If I was ever unclear about this I really do apologize.
There are some among the religious community who feel that their religion enables them to lord it over everyone else and create a self-centered morality system where everything they disagree with is the Devil, when closer examination reveals that their own scriptures contradict them on these matters. With regards to these people, we cannot be sure if we are making the jokes or the jokes are making themselves.
However, actual attacks on or jokes about the religion itself are never okay. Not just from the perspective of not belittling others' beliefs, but also because I at least take this seriously, and would like you to show some respect for that.
When you say "the m/Majority", do you mean "the members of a majority demographic group" (eg, Protestant Christians in the United States), or do you mean "the majority of members of a demographic group" (eg, 12,000 of the 15,000 Zoroastrians in the United States)? I feel like your comment can be read either way, with different implications to each.