This past year I have started to open my eyes to the prejudice and mistreatment of others that has been happening around me my entire life. Perhaps it is because I have surrounded myself with friends who voice such injustices regularly and made me acutely aware of the problem. Before they stepped up, I only heard the complaints of those on the other side of the fence. The picture was there, but half of it was misinterpreted. Terribly misinterpreted.
However, this doesn’t mean I’ve ever intentionally gone out of my way to hurt anyone, and that’s just it. Ignorance is no excuse for being an ass. For all of my past verbal crimes I am deeply remorseful. Words cannot properly express how ashamed I began to feel when I realized how wrong I was. I hope to spend my life making up for such things.
That being said, change needs to happen. By change, I mean people need to stop walking on eggshells and start opening dialogues. The worst excuse for prejudice is ignorance. If you don’t ask, and you screw up, it’s your fault. I am a strong believer in “There are no stupid questions.” If you don’t know what bothers someone, ask! Yes, you should care! When someone hurts you, does that somehow make it okay for them to do it because “IDGAF?” NO! Stop using “Out of fucks to give.”
So ask your friends and neighbors, “What hurts you? Does it offend you when I say this? Do these jokes make you uncomfortable?” Whatever their answers are, respect them and their wishes. It’s called friendship, and friendship requires respect. If there isn’t any, then there is no friendship, and I can’t say I blame others for being angry about it.
Some of us are more sensitive than others and require more gentle treatment. Some of us have skin as thick as an alligator’s and everything just bounces right off. But remember, alligators have big teeth. Just because they give you more room to speak your mind doesn’t mean they can’t be hurt.
I like to think I’m more easy-going than a lot of people. I tend to laugh with the crowd. I don’t have a problem with “white people” jokes. Jokes about women, while stale (seriously…guys you need new material), have never really bothered me. However, I will never be okay with “just let it happen” jokes or haphazardly tossed out phrases like “I totally raped them.” That isn’t okay in my book and never will be. Rape isn’t fucking funny or cool or anything to EVER be proud of.
However, I’ve learned that when it comes to jokes regarding others, I should ask first. “Where do you draw the line?” It’s that simple. Then no one gets hurt, everyone is happy, and we don’t have social media blowing up over some battle of who can be the most disrespectful.
A side note: I’m kind of tired of seeing articles that are ridiculed for their content. “Craziest white people names.” “Can you guess the penis line?” There is always that ONE person who comes in, “if anyone made an article like this about black people, there’d be a riot.” Really? Because I’m fairly certain you’re the one trying to cause the riot with your 300 replies all arguing over what’s okay. It’s an article. There’s something called the freedom of the press. It’s as simple as not following the page that posts material that offends you.
When it comes to individuals, however, that’s when you need to voice your concerns. Talk to people. Don’t yell at them. If they can’t understand why it upsets you and refuse to use more caution when speaking to you, near you, or posting online, then they don’t deserve your friendship.