I see a distinction being made here by xiaomei between racism and prejudice which has resulted in a rather heated argument that is at least in part pure semantics. Xiao seems to think that the only acceptable usage of the term racism is one that includes "institutional" as a preface -- unfortunately that isn't the sense in which other posters are using it. A brief review of the dictionary definition (for your viewing pleasure: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/racism
) shows that the definition most definitely includes all prejudicial thinking that is racially based, even such thinking that is aligned against
a majority group.
At the same time, I think he's also making a valid point. Yes, underprivileged groups can be guilty of sexism, racism, and bigotry, but the fact that they are underprivileged in society makes it difficult for them to cause actual harm to other groups through those beliefs. This puts privileged bigotry into a category of its own and
makes its eradication of much greater importance (because these minority groups are not capable of institutional racism to any large degree).
The reality is, when it comes down to it no one is perfectly neutral on race, sex, gender, and sexual orientation. We all have preconceptions and subconscious biases that interfere with our ability to accurately judge people as individuals and not
as a representative of the group we identify them as being a part of. No group is completely blameless here, as prejudicial thinking is hardwired into our brain, but focusing on the 'sins' of the minority as a way of saying 'let he without sin cast the first stone' is kind of insulting to the hardships that they experience. After all, you wouldn't tell a guy who just lost his arm, "that sucks, I can relate, I stubbed my toe earlier."And now for something completely different.
But having said all that, while I think it's important to be aware of your privilege and sympathetic to those who do not share it, I love offensive humor. I don't think that enjoying sexist, racist, homophobic, or generally bigoted humor automatically makes you a bad person without question. The context is what's important here. Are the jokes you're making nothing but a pretense to hide your bigotry? Are you considering your audience and making sure they're receptive to your brand of humor and aware that you're not serious? Are people present who will appreciate the joke for its message rather than its humor? There are many more questions where those came from too, and I don't think the answer is as simple as "never make offensive jokes."
Offensive jokes can be a great vehicle for mocking the absurdity inherent in racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry. Take "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" for example. The first episode of last season is called, "Mac Fights Gay Marriage." In it, one of the main characters of the show begins to protest gay marriage because a transwoman he was dating went through with her sex change operation and married a man without first asking him out on a date (which she supposedly promised to do). The character is behaving in an extremely petty way and makes very bad arguments against gay marriage; his quotations of the bible are especially hilarious because it's so obvious that he doesn't have the slightest clue what he's talking about (and is basically just grasping at straws because he's upset that she never called him after having her penis removed).
Point being, satire sometimes utilizes hate speech and offensive jokes that would otherwise be unacceptable from the mouth of someone who was serious about the content. I think that's a good thing, because humor is one of the best tools that we have for highlighting absurdity.And now for another new thing!
Removing under god from the pledge isn't a matter of being PC unless you take PC to mean "constitutionally consistent." Government cannot respect the establishment of religion. God is a religious concept. Period.