Commentary

It’s Okay To Laugh

Last Wednesday, Dr. Benjamin Carson called for the end of political correctness. Amen. Political incorrectness is not synonymous with hate. Hate is despising someone for their differences. Political incorrectness is our ability to laugh at those differences. Last year, I went to a six-hour GSA conference in CAMD. The event “facilitator” became angry whenever anyone started laughing. Her rationale was that if you were laughing, you must be laughing at someone. We all have a right to express our concerns if we feel we are being harassed, but sometimes people can be too sensitive. There’s this right in America called freedom of speech. If you’re so sensitive that you find yourself looking for ways to be insulted, then maybe you should go down to Graham House and get some help. Throughout my life I have heard many Jewish jokes directed at me, but I was able to laugh them off. Those jokes were funny! Why would I deny myself a minute of happiness and get offended for no particular reason? My problem with “politically correct” people is that they are always on the defensive. When people are on the defensive, they never listen. Anyone who feels they are above others because they’re more “sensitive” is a hypocrite. As Dr. Carson put it, many people walk around with their shoulders hunched, looking to be offended. Is this social movement really helping anyone? Does it make anyone feel more comfortable? Our world would not be any more peaceful if people always got mad at others for laughing at a cultural or social aspect of this country. Our egos would get in the way. There would be war. I have been made to feel stupid when I participate in facilitated discussions focusing on cultural differences. What these discussions’ “facilitators” do not realize is that I am probably more diverse than them. That doesn’t mean that I am better than them; I am simply saying that I am a gay Jew who grew up on an Indian reservation. Talk to me sometime, I don’t take myself that seriously. The hypocrisy of these groups is that, while claiming to focus on cultural differences, they do nothing of the sort. They actually discourage people from asking direct questions about other people’s culture. We go to one of the most diverse high schools in the world; discouraging people from asking questions is preposterous. I do not condone hate or bullying. People need to educate themselves, but they shouldn’t take themselves so seriously. One thing that I must say is that those who are politically incorrect better recognize the line between humor and hate. However, I believe that people know when something is meant as a joke And if someone feels like their boundaries have been crossed, they should politely tell the “perpetrator” to stop talking. Political correctness takes our differences and tries to erase them. I can only imagine how boring this society would be if we were all the same. Political correctness breeds ignorance and hate. By refusing to talk about our differences in a completely open way, we create misunderstanding that can turn into anger. Now that’s what I call disrespectful. Many people will not agree with me, but I don’t care. When the rubber meets the road, what kind of world do you want to live in? Ben Talarico is a two-year Lower from Suquamish, Washington. btalarico@andover.edu