Humour. It has a way to influence us, influence the environment around us and highlight one’s personality. Humour can do a lot with very few words. What we seem to overlook is how it has so easily managed to normalize a number of grave, very serious topics.

It is very well known-  how insensitive jokes about one’s caste, religion and gender, as well as situation-based jokes such as derogatory rape humour and teasing harassment- have been normalized to a great extent.

How are such comments considered to be hilarious? How does one not realize that such humour is the core reason behind the normalization of various types of discrimination, violence and degradation?

Once we realize this, once we understand how much each “harmless” comment passed on an issue is affecting the society’s thinking, we would very much avoid it.

Such practice has begun to be followed significantly in recent times, but the root cause lies in the overall mindset that’s encouraged by this humour. It is extremely easy to take the facile path, to overlook your friend making that racist joke, to laugh it off and assume that just because they don’t mean it, others, too, would not be encouraged to further think this way.

It is perceived that taking out the offensive factor out of humour makes the concept “bland”, but that’s where the real challenge lies. To make one laugh, without hurting the other.

– Vanya Tandon, Amity International School, Noida

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