Lists, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Five People It’s Still Perfectly Okay To Make Fun Of

Don't worry, mixed kids. He got your back

Don’t worry, mixed kids. He got your back

The controversy regarding the Onion and Quvenzhané Wallis is a perfect example of how people can look at the exact same thing and come away with completely different takes, as it has served as a bit of a Rorschach test for people’s opinions about satire, social media, race, gender, and the use/usefulness of outrage.

Even with these myriad divergent opinions, there is one point everyone seemed to agree on: The Onion’s tweet crossed the line.

Some feel The Onion’s attempt at satire was inappropriate, but not egregious  Some still want heads to roll. And, the rest feel somewhere in between. Rorschach test or not, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks what happened was perfectly fine.

Also, this story serves as an example of how, in the blogosphere/media, there are certain demographics you just can’t say negative things about without expecting swift and harsh pushback. We’ll call them “untouchables.” Some of these people are protected for obvious reasons (children, the physically impaired, etc) while the protection given to others may be more politically-minded. Either way, the list of who you “aren’t allowed to” joke about and/or criticize seems to grow by the day.

Despite this, there remains some people who you can still shit on with impunity. Certain demographic groups who can still safety be the butt of jokes without anyone giving a damn, and here are a few people it’s still perfectly okay to make fun of.

1. Short Men

The perpetual redheaded stepchild of the human race (not that there’s anything wrong with being a redheaded stepchild), men who are a few inches shorter than the average man are routinely discriminated against, bullied, and used as punchline fodder by everyone. What separates them from others who experience the same thing is that shitting on them never goes out of style, never becomes politically incorrect, and never receives any criticism other than “Awwww. Leave the midget men alone.

While the “protection” given to other groups maybe be seasonal, “shitting on short men” is like a pair of Levi’s—safe, comfortable, versatile, reliable, timeless.

2. Women With Conservative Sociopolitical Leanings

“Make sexually repugnant remark about a woman” = “misogynist!!!”

“Make sexually repugnant remark about a woman who happens to be a conservative” = “Oh Shit!!! LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!”

3. Light-Skinned Black Women and Men

One specific to the Black community—there’d be some furniture moving if Rush Limbaugh dared say something bad about Jurnee Smollett—it’s never not okay for Black people to disparage light-skinned Black men and women. Why? Well, that’s obvious. Lighter-skinned people are—by virtue of their lighter skin—assumed to have a level of privilege that regular ole’ Black people don’t.

And, since “privilege” basically means “we can talk about your ass, and you have to sit there and take it,” you can say anything from “Light skinned men all smell like texturizer” to “I mean, really. Light skinned women are Black, I guess, they’re not really BlackBlack” when speaking of them and no one will bat an eye. Shit, you can even start a thousand petitions about why a light-skinned Black actress isn’t actually BlackBlack, despite the fact that she’s come out and said “I’m BLACK!!!!” numerous times. 

(Note: This only applies to light-skinned Black people with two Black parents. Biracial Blacks now have Obama, Drake, and empty bottles of Mixed Chicks to protect them.)

4. Stupid People

It’s not very politically correct to make fun of physically underwhelming men or women. It (obviously) still happens, but if you do this in front of certain audiences, you will get called on it. Why? Well, it’s not fair (or fun) to pick on someone for something they can’t control, and it reeks of bullying.

Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to apply to people who weren’t blessed with above average or even average intelligence. You can argue that it’s because there’s the idea that a person can always get smarter if they want to. If you’re stupid, you’re willfully stupid and deserve whatever’s coming to you.

But, this isn’t true. Some people are born dumb, live dumb, and will die dumb, and there’s not much they can do about it. Still, this doesn’t stop us from making fun of them. I mean, they’re stupid, so it’s not like they’re going to “get” any of the jokes anyway, right? No harm, no foul.

5. Bisexual Men

You’d think bisexual men would get the same type of “protection” gay men receive. But, its hard to be protected when most people (well, most Black people) don’t even believe you really exist. 

Honorable mention: Attractive women, skinny men and women, fat men. men with small penises, Christians, people not from “important” cities, sexually inexperienced men and women, athletes (high school, college, or pro), White men

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://www.simplybeez.com Beez

    I’m… *grabs a chair*

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

      This could get interesting…..

  • RuthlessWonder

    Should celebrity addicts be added to this list? And I mean the actually still in the addiction ones. This goes all the way back to Richard Pryor and comes all the way up through the Amy Winehouse/Whitney Houston/Lindsey Lohan era. Probably can throw Kesha(I refuse to use a cash symbol on her name) in there and Everyone who’s gotten that mugshot of despair plastered over the Internet and TMZ. And making fun of them still seems okay.

  • http://fourpageletter.wordpress.com keisha brown

    and based on some of the comments i saw by people yesterday… apparently each other. and it makes me sad.

    i reminisce for the days when vsb was a cool and happy place to be EVEN WITH disagreements. it was done respectfully (for the most part, people got right or got gone quick otherwise).

    sigh.

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

      Yeah, I like the debates but, now-a-days it always turns into bitter diatribes. I usually end-up scrolling past most of those arguments.

    • Yoles

      you said it KB… i can’t even bust out my glitter n shyt cuz its no longer a happy place…

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        C’mon! We miss the glitter! :)

      • http://fourpageletter.wordpress.com keisha brown

        sadness indeed.
        sad panda face.

  • msdebbs

    I’m gonna _/ back and watch the sparks fly on this one…

  • IcePrincess3

    Anybody that falls. Did yall see that lady fall up the stairs at the oscars? Bwahahahaaa! IDGAF, 9 times out if ten, if you fall around me, I’m laughing. Maturity be damned! This grown azz man men fell getting on the bus last week. He didn’t just trip & stumble, like he full out fell flat on his face real talk. His water bottle went flying & skidded down the length of the bus floor. I’m wiping tears right now just typing this. *whew*

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

      I fell about a year ago. I was crossing the street and the pavement was uneven and I tripped on it. It felt like I was falling in slow motion. Lol!

      It happened at a major intersection too. So I know dozens of people saw me fall. I jumped up and kept walking like it never happened. Lol.

      • IcePrincess3

        Lolz! Soooo embarrassing! Laughing at you now, so thanks for sharing :-)

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          :-)

      • camilleblue

        Girl….I busted my @ss in the lobby of my office building last year…I so feel you on the slo-mo….the whole way down I was thinking…NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! And it was loud as hell for some reason…I couldn’t do anything but laugh at myself….

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          Lol. Wow.

      • Lia

        LOL I would’ve done the same thing

    • AfroPetite

      bwhahahaha I have been watching this gif between study breaks and it encourages me to press forward….

      http://25.media.tumblr.com/5459c3a732102d0e9c98784780f564e0/tumblr_mirf3wQvYX1qd3nmgo1_500.gif

      • Royale W. Cheese

        Looks like she’s doing power push-ups, cross-fit style.

        • camilleblue

          there’s a woman i work with who was doing push ups in the copy center one day…just happened to walk thru the door and there she was…down on the floor gruntin’…i was like wth is wrong with you???

    • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

      And you described it so wonderfully it made me LOL. Thanks. Seeing as I’ve fallen in several quite embarrassing situations, I reserve the right to ROTFL at anyone else.

    • nillalatte

      It’s been a few years, but I fell at work. And, well, when I do something I do it BIG. Particularly when it comes to self embarrassment. I was sitting at my L-shape desk and had both file drawers open on either side of me. A sales rep and I were chatting away when I had to get up and do something. In my haste, I neglected to shut the drawers, got up and proceeded to trip over the open file drawer, stumble backwards, fall in my chair and then into the floor! The sales rep jumped to his feet and put his hands out like he was gonna try to catch me, but my arse was bouncing all over the place like a damn ping pong ball.

      I ‘fell’ another time jumping down off a 3ft rock wall in front of the hospital at Vanderbilt. I was too lazy to walk around the wall and thought I’d take a short cut. So, me, in my pumps and dress, kneels down on the wall, kicks out my feet, jumps, and hits the sidewalk below. Literally. Now, I’m lying on the sidewalk with a busted knee, groaning in pain and rocking my leg. The construction guys from across the street come to help me up and a doctor walks by. He stopped for a moment and asks, “Are you hurt?” I looked at him all crazy and said, “No, I just like to lie on the sidewalk on 21st Avenue occasionally.” The construction workers all laughed. The doc turned and kept walking. I guess he didn’t get my sense of humor. Anyway, the construction guys went to the hospital and got a wheel chair, wheeled me to the ER where I was put in a leg brace and on crutches, and sent back to work.

      I could tell you a few more, but then again, you’d think I make falling a career. LOL

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        Lol@you jumping off rocks in heels.

        Well, I guess construction workers are good for something besides whistling at women. Lol.

  • Dignan

    So am I going to have to take half a day off from work again today just to keep up with the comments section?

    • Dignan

      And it looks like the answer is “yes.” lol

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    Somebody called me “high yellow” the other day. They didn’t even say it right. It’s “high yella”. Lol. And, I’m really not that light. Certainly not AK light. The funny thing about skin color in the African American community is that people can’t seem to agree on what “lightskinneded” really is unless you are AK’s complexion or lighter. Otherwise there are always arguments about who is actually lightskinneded.

    Is Beyonce light skinned? She’s brownskinned to me. Drake? Yeah, he’s lightskinneded. Vanessa Williams? She’s brownskinned to me. Halle? She’s brownskinned to me. But, I’m sure some people would disagree.

    And, I don’t know if people really approve of making fun of lightskinneded people nor darkskinned people, for that matter. But, if there’s a serious argument between people of contrasting skintones there will likely be references made to each others color during the argument. Male or female.

    • Malik

      Beyonce is adamant about defending her light-skint Queenhood.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        Bey is only lightskinneded in photos.

        • IcePrincess3

          Hell yea. Loreal need they azz beat smdh

        • Latonya

          I thought Bey was light skin?

        • Malik

          Beyonce is WHITE in photos. But that’s another conversation.

      • kid video

        You know what grinds my gears about being liteskinnined…I hate being the “complexion barometer”.

        If im next to, or in the same room where two ppl are trying to describe someone elses skin tone, they’ll look/point at me and say, “Are they lighter or darker than him”?

        Thats that chit I dont like…
        #Keefisms

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          Lol. Skintone is a major descriptor amongst Black folks. But, other groups are skintone obsessed too. South Asians, in particular, are as bad as we are. I think they might even have more ways of describing skintone than we do.

          • kid video

            I guess because blk folks dont hang with a lotta asians(i assume), we dont see they have the same issues.

            I wouldnt mind seeing an asian “School Daze”…lol

          • msdebbs

            Dominicans are skintone obsessed too….can’t be too dark

            • camilleblue

              see Sammy Sosa…

              • kid video

                Yeah…Sosa looks quite ghoulish nowadays.

                • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

                  Sammy is a sad clown.

    • DG

      Gotta say…love your use of the term “lightskinneded”…lol

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        Lol.

    • AfroPetite

      She’s a nice caramel complexion in person but she’s still lighter than my NC50 arse which makes her high yella from my perspective. Matter of fact, I’m going to start referring to folks in their MAC Profinish Foundation colors.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        “…but she’s still lighter than my NC50 arse which makes her high yella from my perspective.”

        That’s exactly what I’m saying. It’s (almost) totally subjective.

      • Royale W. Cheese

        “I’m going to start referring to folks in their MAC Profinish Foundation colors”

        LMAO. May as well. It’ll go along nicely with the Andre Walker hair numbering system. *smirk*

    • RuthlessWonder

      Don’t we have to call Vanessa Williams lite brite? I mean Tim Roth yells at Lawrence Fishburne about it in Hoodlum. “I KNOW WHERE YA HIGH YELLA BITCH IS LIVIN!” I feel like that’s enough of an endorsement. I don’t know many people who have lines of dialogue in scripts to solidify their complexion.

      • kid video

        Good catch with the Hoodlum film…also see that scene in New Jack City where Judd Nelson says to Ice T, “im gonna wax your high yella ass”, or something to that effect.

        • camilleblue

          *side note* my favorite line is when T says..”i wanna shoot you so bad my d!ck is hard”

    • Aly

      Yeah, Zoe Saldana is also one of those iffy light-skinned folks. In some pics she looks light, in others she looks brown. Personally I don’t think she’s light-skinned.

      • kid video

        Zoe cant eff with Rashida Jones/Jennifer Beals lightskinnedness…those chicks are passing for White.

        • msdebbs

          dark skinned blacks don’t have these debates…smh

          • SouthernBelle

            Dark Skin ppl most definitely do have these arguments. They’ll say “I’m Black but not blue black.” LOL

          • Shannon sweet ga brown

            Yes they do. Two high yella women in my office have it out over who is light bright and its funny to me. One trying to convince the other they are darker. Lol.

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

              That’s so ridiculous. Lol.

            • BKSweetheart

              LOL this is me and my SO. We’re both lightskinned but he’s a little darker naturally. Whenever we go on vacations we have tanning competitions and will seriously be getting in debates about whos darker.

              And when we’re both pale in the winter, he’ll be like literally 1/8 of a shade darker than me.. He’ll be like “Girl, you looking at pure Africa right here, we’re like ebony and ivory right now” I’m like, yeaaaah no, more like ivory and alabaster LOL.

      • http://www.blacklatinafabulous.com Maris

        You know what? I debated that on my blog, too…because by Hispanic “standards” she’s dark (so most Hispanics don’t ‘get’ the argument) See what I mean:

        http://blacklatinafabulous.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/zoecompare.jpg
        (yes, that’s me in the last image)
        She’s the same daggone color as Nia Long and I have NEVER seen anyone question Nia’s blackness. I don’t get it.

        • The Guy Formerly Know As Hmmmm

          (yes, that’s me in the last image)

          well hello to you!

        • Marshal

          That’s YOU??!!! Mmmmmmm-mmmmm!!!!

          I guess I need to work on my Obvious Flirting Skills then :-)

          • http://www.blacklatinafabulous.com Maris

            Bahaha, thanks! I can’t wait ’till summer though, I need a taaaannnn.
            PS- ever notice how many high yella folks say that? Ain’t nobody satisfied.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          @Maris

          Yeah, the standards of Cubans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, etc., are even more strict than African American color standards.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        Yep, Zoe Saldana is definitely brownskinned.

    • Lia

      Naw, mama Tina started sending her to the tanning salons a long time ago so she’s naturally fairer than she appears. She’s not as light as they like to make her look in photos though, so I have no idea what her natural skin color is.

  • H.H.H.

    You know, champ, that the biggest group that is off limits (and somehow the males of VSB get away with it without being arrested) are (CENSORED)

    • IcePrincess3

      Do tell!

      • H.H.H.

        i’m not allowed to. Scar will send his Hyenas after me…and i’ll be forced to get back on that Hakuna Matata diet.

        you know GRUBS TASTE HORRIBLE?? yet i had to suffer cuz of them 2???? means no worries….yeah, i aint got no worries once i eat that warthog.

        • IcePrincess3

          Well, it’s better than eating all those god forsaken croutons all the dang time :-)

    • http://fourpageletter.wordpress.com keisha brown

      ……

      • H.H.H.

        :(

        • http://fourpageletter.wordpress.com keisha brown

          i just wanna know is all.. pleeeeeease. sharing is caring. unless its hurtful. lol.

    • Kema

      Triple H!!! *blows drunk kisses*

      • H.H.H.

        *flexes*

    • H.H.H.

      you know..maybe there should be a law against saying anything bad about (CENSORED) and if (CENSORED) does…they can be arrested…

      that way we can get the self esteem of (CENSORED) at a healthy level?

      because shutting down ignorant speech should be a goal of an enlightened society, right?

    • Juiciest Mango

      are you talking about feminists??

      • H.H.H.

        no comprende ingles. :(

    • Asiyah

      It’s lions, isn’t it? We shouldn’t talk ish about lions!

  • weethomas

    You’re?

  • Malik

    Sensitive rappers. Not just touchy-feely dudes. But rappers like Wale who pitches a fit every time someone says something mean to him.

    • AfroPetite

      Is that a Beenie Baby on atop your head?

      • IcePrincess3

        Ahahaaaa Malik you are so stupid; so deadpan. Rotflmaoooo

      • Malik

        Collector’s Edition