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Some people may think that jokes like: “Why are there no female astronauts on the moon? Because it doesn’t need cleaning yet”, or “How do you get the little black kids to stop jumping on the bed? Put Velcro on the ceiling. How do you get them down? Tell the Mexican kids it’s a piñata,” or truly any other offensive joke are funny when in reality they aren’t. They are just plain offensive because they target a group of people that have been socially oppressed for long periods of time. People don’t understand that jokes like this sometimes are used to cover the racism, sexism, fat shaming, etc… that still exists today. They cover them by saying “Oh! It’s just a joke, take a chill pill”.

There’s a term called disparagement humor. Disparagement humor is defined as making problems or the denigration of marginalized groups look funny. (You can learn more about disparagement humor here.) These jokes have normalized social problems like racism, sexism, rape, or attacks to groups like the LGBTQ+.

The problem with these jokes is that, as I said before, they normalize social problems because they are “just jokes” and “it’s just something funny.” In reality, they just promote social oppression, and people start looking at it like its something normal and they start making denigrating jokes that are funny for them but that are offensive towards those marginalized groups. They disguise the oppression with jokes. They promote the denigrating aspects that society has been fighting against for ages.

Some people make offensive jokes trying to make people conscious of what is happening in society, but the problem here is that not all people understand the meaning of these jokes, therefore making them problematic in some ways. They convince some people to make fun of the already oppressed.

Personally, I find these jokes just plain offensive because, for example, when someone tells me an offensive joke about women, I don’t laugh at all. I try to explain to them that it isn’t funny because women have been oppressed over decades and have had to live in a patriarchal world where they have been portrayed as stupid, as less than, and being told that they “belong” in the kitchen. When people tell these jokes, they are reminding us of the pain and sexism we’ve had to suffer as women and they don’t understand the reason behind why they aren’t funny. They just say it’s just a joke I’m not being offensive. Denigrating jokes are not funny because they promote the oppression of already marginalized groups, normalize social misconducts, and promote rape culture, sexism, and denigration, among others. It’s as simple as that.


Arhiadne is a freshman at UPR. She's currently in the Humanities Faculty but is thinking about changing to the Faculty of Business Administration because she wants to open her own restaurant someday. However, she usually doesn't have much to say about herself because, according to her, she only knows how to binge-watch Netlfix.
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