Just kidding

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As a young gay man in the 21st century, I often feel a certain detachment from my gay roots. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. A lot of people of my generation don’t want to be labeled as gay or black or white. Our main concern is to be treated like human beings — that’s all.

This brings me to my topic — jokes about race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

I was surfing YouTube, one of my favorite things to do, and I was watching stand-up comedy sketches by Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler. On the sidebar was a video of racist jokes, one of which I thought was so funny that I posted it as my Facebook status. I knew at the time that this had the potential to cause a bit of controversy, but I wasn’t afraid to defend my decision.

Some people commented with a simple “LOL,” and I even got a “Wow” out of someone. But one person asked this question: “How do you seriously feel about telling racially motivated jokes when you’re brown yourself? I feel like telling jokes like this makes the bigger issues be taken less seriously.”

To this person I can easily say I disagree. Racist people, homophobic people and sexist people alike are all members of one group: bad people. They are people who hate.

As for the “bigger issues” she was concerned about, I can say that hate crimes and gay bashing are a couple of big issues that I have experienced, and they had nothing to do with me being gay. They had everything to do with the fact the people who hit me were afraid of me. They hate change and hate things they don’t understand.

My point is that if there were no such thing as gay people, the gay basher would just bash someone else.

That’s one type of bad person. There’s another type that Sarah Silverman described in an interview with Katie Couric. Silverman was talking about how sometimes when she’s doing her stand-up comedy, she’ll observe a Jewish audience member, for example, who will laugh at black jokes, Mexican jokes and gay jokes. But when it comes to jokes about Jews, his laughter stops. It’s as if it’s not OK to laugh at his people, but to laugh at everyone else’s people is fine. Do you know what you are when you laugh at other people’s cultures and think yours is special? You’re a racist!

I’m Mexican. I can laugh at black jokes, white jokes and Mexican jokes alike. Do you know why? Because they’re just jokes!

These days, sexual orientation, race and gender are irrelevant. People are people. The president is black. I hold hands with my boyfriend in public. It’s not a big deal anymore.

There are bad people, and there are good people. Just as long as you know you’re on the right team, you shouldn’t have anything to be concerned about. People need to stop singling themselves out as “the oppressed minority.” You can be anything you want to be and, if you’re oppressed, it’s most likely because you’re acting oppressed. So stop it. Treat yourself with respect, and so will others.

Angel Sevilla III is a student at the Milwaukee Institute or Art and Design.

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