Social Sense

Re-establishing the line between offensive and innocent jokes on social media

Cartoons by Summer Aguirre

Our generation, while filled with activists, influencers and advocates, was born into a world heavily dependent on technology and it has created a rift between worlds. In one world, jokes can be laughed at with no second thought, and in the other, jokes are taken too far in an attempt to be funny. Over time, the line between offensive and sensitive has become blurred and it is our responsibility to define the line and ensure social media is a safe space for everyone.

As a society, it is important to we ensure that we are cautious when posting to prevent crossing the line and contributing to the disrespectful and vulgar content prevalent on social media. By doing this we are able to protect ourselves and others from being offended by many jokes.

According to Forbes, 40 percent of people are offended by content that is directed towards them in a negative way. The ever growing amount of low self-esteem paired with the belligerent attitudes of people on social media cause one large headache for victims of jokes that are trying to be entertaining at the expense of others.

When discussing the establishment of a line to separate the offensive from the sensitive we have to consider how empathetic we are to certain groups on social media. Personally, as someone of Japanese descent who was born and raised in Hawaii, jokes that negatively touch on my culture and history go too far. For example,  when I see jokes on social media about the events of Pearl Harbor, I feel that unless you or someone close to you has a history or relevance regarding the topic it is unjustified to make jokes and comments about such a dark time in history where real people lost their lives and those who lived had to 

suffer the repercussions.

Learning to form connections with others is a basic human trait and if we become desensitized to the blatant and improper use of jokes and memes, then we have failed as a society. We must strive to reevaluate what we deem as “socially acceptable” and find the balance between humor and bullying so we can begin to make social media an enjoyable source of entertainment.