A Trojan Tribune Special Feature – Crossing the Line: When Does the Joke Go Too Far?

A Trojan Tribune Special Feature – Crossing the Line: When Does the Joke Go Too Far?

By: Erin Witte

We’ve all heard it. “I’m so angry I could…” “I’m so stressed I just wanna…” It’s off putting, yet it seems so casual at this point. You know it’s wrong but other people are laughing, so you laugh too. You feel uneasy as you do it, but it seems simpler than raising attention to it. So when does that stop? When does someone decide to speak up? When does the joke go too far?

In high school, there are always people talking and things being said, it’s hard to keep up. Jokes are flown around without much thought put into it and people just laugh, because that’s what high schoolers need, a good laugh. Somehow, though, we ended up at a point where we aren’t very conscientious about what we are saying. A conversation with your friends joking about something can be entirely misinterpreted by a passerby. Something that’s a joke to you, may be a sensitive subject and not nearly as funny to them.  All it takes is a second of rethinking before you decide to say those words out loud.

People say things they don’t mean all the time. I’m sure you’ve heard a mother say she’s gonna wring her kid by their neck when they get home, but she obviously doesn’t do that or mean it. But it’s hard to tell when it’s time to intervene on a skeptical situation. People can be held accountable for others’ actions when disaster strikes, and nobody wants to be on the wrong end when worst comes to worst. So how do we separate when it’s a joke and when it’s too late? When is the right time before it’s too late?

Honestly, we shouldn’t have to worry about when the joke goes too far because it should never become a joke. We live in a world where things can get spread within seconds, when one simple joke can be taken to a whole different level, one the joker maybe never imagined.

But we also need to look at it from an entirely different view. How do we expect others to know when people are joking and when they’re being serious? When a person chooses to ignore one comment, how do they decide what comment they’re going to ignore next?

We as “jokers” and responsible students need to have more consideration for teachers, parents, and peers. There should never be any type of joke that makes any of those people feel uncomfortable and unsure of what to do next. We shouldn’t be angry towards them or blame them for not knowing whether you mean it as joke or not, because if they feel uncomfortable, it’s not a joke to them. The joke goes too far when you’re the only one feeling okay with what you just said. Together we need to stop using dangerous humor as means to entertain ourselves or others. It’s 2019 and it’s time to look around you, the world doesn’t need another lousy joke or comment. It needs people with reason and a conscientious mind. It’s time for all of us to begin to be those people.

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