• Rachel

Failing to see the funny side of prejudice, sexism and exploiting vulnerable people

Exploitation, prejudice and sexism are no laughing matters, but the comedian who opened up at an industry awards I attended last night time travelled back to the 80s with material that needs to be consigned to history.

The organisers of the event issued an apology immediately. The comedian had been briefed, and this wasn’t his first rodeo, but it seems common sense was replaced by nonsense as he made his opening address.

It made me reflect on the challenge of how, when the world has changed, you bring people with you and not let ignorant views that belong in the past still be heard.

I think it’s our duty to call it out. When we hear stuff that’s not ok, no matter how awkward the situation, we need to be firm that ignorance will not be tolerated. Everyday as a society we educate ourselves more and get wise to the things that, when looked at again through a fresh lens, are no longer ok.

We’ve all seen the social media nostalgia. ‘When we were little we used to play out all day, go out on our Choppers and play conkers without the health and safety police intervening.’... But we used to listen to Bernard Manning, people drove home back from the pub with a skinful and we got Golliwog badges free with jars of marmalade. The world has changed, we know and understand more. Anyone that still thinks it’s ok to make jokes at the expense of minorities, vulnerable and diverse people needs a wake up call.

So this morning, fresh after the event that was clearly no laughing matter I just wanted to pledge to not stay silent if we hear comments that are not acceptable. If we don't speak up, we're complicit in helping inappropriate behaviour to stay normal. If we have a voice we should use it, and if someone has a better joke I know a comedian that needs either new material, or a new career.


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