A piece on The Daily Tar Heel’s Pit Talk blog was offensive to me in several ways:
First, as a person who strives to promote social justice, I found the use of stereotypes for comedic effect offensive.
Second, as a member of minority group, seeing any person or group being marginalized through use of stereotypes upsets me.
Last, as a person who has family members and friends who identify as gay, it hurt knowing someone thought it was acceptable to publish something of that nature.
In my opinion, the blog was nothing more than published bullying. Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.”
The only reservation I have with this definition is bullying can occur among young adults, college students and adults as well. Bullying isn’t always laced with four-letter words or physical blows. Minimizing a culture to a few vague characteristics is bullying as well.
While, to a certain extent, I’m sure addressing stereotypes is a form of reclamation, it does not eliminate the offense the piece had. Just because the author is gay doesn’t make it appropriate. Reclamation has repercussions that must be considered. It’s not a matter of censorship — it’s a matter of consideration.
Joking about stereotypes, even with harmless intentions, can have a detrimental impact on a person — it has on me.