Comment on policital correctness and racist jokes - Referat
Regisseur and actor Clint Eastwood is a well-known figure in Hollywood. In 2008 he directed the movie Gran Torino. While directing it he also played the main character Walt Kowalski.
In an interview he once stated that „people have lost their sense of humor, in former times, we constantly made jokes about races“. This is a very daring statement that probably not everyone would agree with.
Racist language and insults are important reoccurring themes throughout the whole movie Gran Torino. Especially Walt Kowalski is guilty of using a lot of racist language and it seems as if this is very normal behavior to him. This vulgar language is part of his character as he thinks that in order to be a man you have to talk like that. Good examples for this behavior are the scenes in which he talks to Tim, his barber, or when he tells a racist joke to his drinking buddies in a bar, which they seem to enjoy.
This movie, and especially the character Walt Kowalski, definitely deliver an insight into what Clint Eastwood meant when he said that people have lost their sense of humor.
Nowadays you will more likely have to face harsh criticism from others if you make jokes about races. Especially people in the public eye like actors know about this. Media and fans are quick to call somebody racist even if it is for example on the basis of a five year old tweet.
One reason for this is the immense rise of political correctness in the last few years. Clint Eastwood doesn’t believe this to be a good thing, but rather something that is stopping people from having a laugh. But is a joke really funny if it is on the expense of somebody else’s feelings or if it is hurtful to certain people?
In my opinion, hurting somebody just to make a joke is not worth it. Thinking about the feelings of others before making a joke makes you a better person and shows that you are capable of being empathetic.
Unfortunately, as with every new movement, there has also been some counter movement of people who mock this “sensitivity“ of those who decide to speak up for minorities that used to be the target of a lot of jokes. They often claim that people get offended by anything nowadays, which basically is the same notion which Clint Eastwood described in his statement.
Besides it is notable that it is common for societal norms to change over time. Just because a standard changes and you suddenly face criticism for offensive or hurtful jokes, that does not mean that you can no longer make jokes at all. Political correctness does not have to be a restriction. Refraining from telling offensive jokes could give you the opportunity to reach people, that earlier would not have talked to you, because they were offended by your jokes. But ignoring the feelings of different identities or minorities will stop people from wanting to listen to you and over time shrink your audience.
Therefore I think that this evolution of people being more sensitive for other’s feelings when making a joke is a very good trend which could make life easier for minorities who, in the past, just had to endure the constant jokes about their culture, looks or language. And consequently, I do not agree with Clint Eastwood’s thesis that political correctness is responsible for a loss of humor - there still are many funny people out there, people who do not have to diminish others in order to get a laugh.
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