Despite my white skin and blue eyes, as a Jew I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my whiteness. This is true now more than ever. My people have suffered at the hands of xenophobes and bigots for as long as we’ve been around. My great-grandparents survived the pogroms of Europe only to arrive in the US and be told they’re not welcome here. They were denied jobs, housing and basic human decency. They were relegated in ghettos here to match the ones they left behind in Europe. They did not (and I still do not) enjoy many of the privileges that white Christian Americans have been afforded. But they stayed and here I am.
Recently, three male comedians have (again) come under fire for offensive tweets and jokes. Across the three of them, they’ve managed to hit almost every hot button issue: sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, sizism, and ableism. If they’d crammed racism and Islamaphobia in there too I’d be downright impressed.
Naturally, for each of them, people swiftly came to their defense. Responses are the same tired horse shit you’ve heard before. “It was just a joke, don’t be so uptight!” “Are we the comedy police now?” “What happened to free speech?” “You wouldn’t be saying that if [insert member of mocked and oppressed group here] had made the joke!”
All of these reactions are stupid and downright boring, much like the “jokes” themselves. If the jokes had actually been funny or clever or even opportune, I might be more forgiving. But they weren’t. Not only is this bad behavior, it’s bad comedy.