OPINON:Was it a joke or are you just racist? Don’t let your words spread hate

I’m sick of hearing people make awful comments about other people, only to cover it up with some excuse, telling someone not to be so sensitive because “it was just a joke.” 

Was it really a joke or was it said because of a certain prejudice someone is holding?

If a joke attacks a group of people, whether it is about race, sexual orientation, appearance, gender, disabilities or something else along those lines, it is no longer something worth laughing about.

In order to find these jokes funny, you have to hold a certain biased opinion regarding that person or group in the first place.

Here’s a simple way to keep yourself from telling an offensive joke: if the person at the center of the joke would be hurt if they overheard it, there’s no reason to believe it is funny. 

If you would still tell the joke, but know that person would still find it hurtful, you need to take a step back and look at what’s making you harbor such hatefulness. Being a jerk isn’t a great way to make friends.

Now, more than ever, we all need to realize how damaging words can be. Words don’t just spread hate, they create it. 

Within the realm of politics, words have turned into actual bombs. Someone took what he heard too far and decided the people who were critical of the current government were the enemy.

“This division, this hatred, this ugliness — it has to end. Words matter,” Former vice president Joe Biden said when reflecting on the bombs sent to him and many other member of the Democratic party. 

Our country is extremely divided right now, but I believe if we would stop attacking each other with words, we might be able to work on our problems without having to put defenses up.

I encourage everyone, including myself, to stop building walls when it comes to unfamiliar situations. 

Instead, make connections. Work to understand the differences between yourself and someone else and use it to help you grow.

The only way to stop hate is to think about our own actions and be the change we want to see around us. We should be spreading love our words instead of hate. 

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