No one cares until there’s a tragedy
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It’s impossible to go throughout your day without hearing something offensive, especially in high school. Ever since I can remember, I’ve heard people make holocaust jokes, gay jokes, and school shooting jokes like they were nothing, then brush them aside, until another shooting happens and they post yet another hashtag on their Instagram story. You can’t make a school shooting joke and then post #parklandstrong- this isn’t algebra, the two don’t cancel out.
People can’t only focus on an issue like bigotry when it becomes prominent in the media. In a culture that encourages the use social media and the stream of constant news, it’s easy to stay updated and informed, yet people still make ignorant comments. Especially with a president that makes just as offensive comments, we need to stand up against this everyday hate.
I’m not trying to come off as a “special snowflake” or as overly sensitive, but it should be common sense not to make jokes about oppressed groups unless you’re a part of that group. There’s a difference between having dark humor and being offensive. If you’re not an oppressed person and you make a joke about oppression, you’re not cool or edgy-you’re annoying and unnecessary. This should also go for issues like gun violence, you can’t make a joke about something that regularly kills people, especially in schools, and expect it to be appropriate.
The main problem with this is inconsistency. People make ignorant comments, they cry when a tragedy happens and then wait until the whole thing dies down and then continue with their comments. It’s a cycle that we need to break.
In wake of the Pittsburgh shooting, it’s more important than ever to speak up against such bigotry and words. You don’t see anti-Semitism as much in the news, but it’s sadly still prominent and prevalent in our society.
I’ve always been a reserved person about my views at school but at some point, enough is enough. I can’t count the number of times another student has made a holocaust joke or a sexist joke, and I haven’t said anything, only because I was afraid to stand up. But not standing up only contributes to the problem, and normalizes these idiotic comments.
Another thing that I notice is that people make comments, then wait to see how people react. If they get called out, they immediately apologize and just play it off as a joke. If they laugh, it’s all okay. Just don’t say offensive things.
This is something we learn in elementary school, yet people don’t follow through. There is an important difference between being uneducated and genuinely unaware, and being straight up ignorant. There is a difference between educating and correcting yourself and not doing anything to change your ways.
It’s simple. Don’t make comments about oppression if you are not a person affected by that oppression. It’s easier than you think to respect people, even if they’re different from you. There are things about other people that we cannot change, but ignorance is not one of them.
Anna Woodward is a sophomore and staff writer. When she's not writing stories, she enjoys listening to music, playing the piano and watching movies.