The Consequences of Dark Humor


Bella Wallen, Staff Writer

Many kids today use humor as a way to cope. Humor is also used as an excuse to “break down barriers.”

Dark humor is a joke with a harsh twist that is intended to offend. Dark humor includes normalizing the use of slurs and controversial and sensitive topics, ranging from suicide to racism and sexism.

Many kids in Charleston are victims and perpetrators of dark humor. I have witnessed and have been told these offensive jokes.

When people are accused of wrongfully making jokes and making fun of a vulnerable person, they make the excuse of “It’s just a joke.”

It can also be argued that these jokes are funny to an extent.

“Dishwasher” and “kitchen” jokes are often used against women, but they’ve turned so normalized that I, personally, am not affected by them anymore.

The world has become so desensitized to these comments that might normally hurt so many more people than it now does.

I have had multiple people tell me of their experiences with this harsh “sense of humor.”

A friend of mine told me that when they opened up about their past to others, they would make jokes to cope.

According to my friend, it’s different when you are the one going through something and make light of your own experiences, “but when those same people would make those jokes either to other people behind my back or at my expense…they really just thought my suffering was joking…”

Dark humor can break a person down, even if the joke-teller makes light of the situation and topic. No one understands the seriousness of other people’s situations, and have no right to make their own judgements.

Another friend told me that one day on the bus, some boys were calling other kids very derogatory names.

These names have a history of offending people, and are used to talk down to others. They said that “[dark humor] is supposed to be making fun of your own trauma.” The usage of these types of jokes could come off as trying to be superior. Making others feel low about themselves is a strategy to provoke dominance.

So the next time you or your friends are joking around, think about the consequences of your words.

Not everyone understands the context or satire of jokes, so it is best to play it safe. Even though something doesn’t offend you, that doesn’t mean it won’t offend someone else. Words can hurt.