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I bumped into a blog post that tickled me. It was about a restaurant making fun of vegans, and the backlash that followed. Basically, the White Moose Cafe made some sarcastic comments on its Facebook Page, the comments were re-posted by different vegans groups, and then everything went to hell.

I read the entire exchange with a smile on my face. Probably because I’m not vegan, so I could see the funny side. Except … what if I was vegan? Would I still find it funny? What if that Facebook post talked about women, or black people, or fat people? Would I still be laughing? Would anyone?

It’s an unwritten rule that it’s okay to bash *minorities by volume* but never the other way round. Hence, we have fat jokes, and black jokes, and feminist jokes, and even Irish jokes. But when the bashed hit back, it’s not taken with the same vein. No one takes meninists seriously. Reverse racism isn’t considered an actual thing.

I once made a comment about how white people can’t jump – or dance. Then I wondered how different that was from saying Africans have intrinsic rhythm. Or that black people are naturally good at sports. Or that women are softer than men. How is one set of statements bad and the other is not?

It was explained to me that ‘the privileged cannot cry foul when the minorities attack them.’ That a man – or a white person, a thin person – can’t claim discrimination because the world already favours them, so it doesn’t count. The damage, apparently, is in the power dynamic, and the power dynamic is decided by society and context. That’s why, for example, a video about a little girl forcing a little boy to marry her is hilarious. But … a video about a little boy forcing a little girl to kiss him … is not.

Is that all there is to it though? Is it really about context and the shape of society? Or is humanity just so basic that anything goes if it’s happening to someone else? In an ideal world, we could all feel each other’s pain. Then maybe we wouldn’t hurt each other as much. Unfortunately, this world is far from ideal, and we can only try to see the other person’s point of view. Then maybe this world would be far less fucked up.

♫ Same love ♫ Macklemore ft Mary Lambert ♫

299 thoughts on “It’s funny … when it’s not you

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