by Keith Plummer, Student Contributor
To whom it may concern,
Over the past few weeks, an author for the Eggplant column has posted some hilarious articles that show just how funny it is that people are concerned with issues of race and gender among others. Truly, how laughable is it that people might want to discuss social inequalities or advocate for marginalized communities, especially when such endeavors are underpinned by the diligent findings of the social sciences like Sociology? Why have productive and empirically informed conversations about race, gender, and systemic discrimination when you could just dismiss and make fun of it all then call it “satire.” Ha. Ha.
Well, I have my own idea of what would be even more hysterical! You know what would really make me laugh? Yes, what would really tickle my funny bone if it were a joke?
LGB people were not 4 times as likely to attempt suicide and 41% of transgender people had not already tried to do so. Queer people never thought of taking their life and never felt unloved, alienated, or without support.
African-Americans were not incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white people. Black people were free and integrated members of society with the resources they needed to flourish.
Marriage equality was always the law of the land, not a right only afforded in 2015 and still under attack.
Women didn’t only make 80 cents to a man’s dollar (63 cents for black women and 54 cents for Latina women). Every company realized that the same work is deserving of the same pay no matter what gender or race performed it.
The 1% did not have more wealth than the bottom 95% combined. The affluent realized that such stratification was unacceptable and ensured every American had access to basic necessities.
Parents of color did not feel the need to tell their children that the police would treat them differently and unjustly harass them. Law enforcement fought for the rights and protections of all without racial prejudice.
The United States did not invest around 600 billion dollars in the military each year (54% of all federal discretionary spending). Those crucial funds were allocated toward healthcare and education instead of war-making.
1 in 5 people were not imprisoned for nonviolent crimes. Our justice systems relied on more generative approaches to rehabilitating nonviolent criminals rather than incarceration in an increasingly privatized sector more concerned with profit anyways.
Transgender people of color were not six times more likely to experience physical violence from the police compared to their white cisgender counterparts. Gender diversity was celebrated rather than violently vilified and policed.
1 in 6 women had not fallen victim to an attempted or completed sexual assault. Consent and respect were simply second nature in every person’s sexual encounters and relationships.
Transgender people did not face potential danger anytime they needed to use a public restroom. Nobody ever felt compelled to needlessly politicize such a basic human function.
Hate crimes had not increased exponentially during and after the 2016 election cycle. Difference was never used as a weapon in political campaigns or an excuse to inflict harm.
Now that is what I’d really love to laugh at. Wouldn’t that be the best joke if all those horrific social realities weren’t actually real? What’s not funny is that when it comes to the types of disenfranchisement and degradation that still pervade this country, the list I have given is hardly exhaustive. So maybe next time you want to make racial politics or sociological analyses of structures of oppression the new stand-up act at 10-Spot, you might take a moment to think about how serious the issues you are making light of are. I’m certainly not laughing and I’m sure the communities you casually mock and invalidate are not laughing either. Oppression is not funny, but the utter insensitivity and obtuseness with which you have written your past columns is. Injustice is not amusing and subjugation is not a chance for you to be witty, it’s a chance for you to stand up and speak out. Get your facts straight and advocate.