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Joking about rivals is still bigotry

Sat 17th March 2012

I tried to post this as a comment on this article, and their WordPress commnet page is broken, so I thought I’d post it here. I think that I’ll post all of my more in depth comments on my blog. In fact, I kinda think that’s how all blogs and social networking should work; everything should be posted on the site of the author, and use a sort of pingback system to inform the article it is replying to (which might keep a copy in case the site of the author goes offline).

Anyway, the comment is in reply to a couple of comments on SotonTab, about the relationship between Southampton Solent University students and University of Southampton students: Kaos in Jesters and Why I’d rather be at Solent.

Don’t you think the ‘jokes’ fuel this animosity? The idiot in Alice’s article acted in the extreme way that he did because he was drunk. His inebriated state amplified the opinion that has been drilled into him the whole of the rest of the time.

Even when everyone is sober, people’s interpretation of these ‘jokes’ as jokes is on a sliding scale. Some will fully get that it’s a bit of kidding around, but some will think it’s semi-serious hatred, especially as they hear it repeated. Then when these people get drunk, they overreact and this hatred becomes bigger.

It is really like any other form of prejudice. People used to think it was OK to tell casually racist or sexist jokes, but to some people it just reinforced their opinion that it was alright to be a bigot.

All I’m saying is that if we treat the human beings at our neighbouring university with respect *all of the time* and be intolerant of the so-called ‘jokes’, then we might reach a stage where students from the two can meet in a pub and converse freely without the risk of someone acting like an abusive idiot.

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