As a Society Are We Too Sensitive?

Due to political correctness, Dick Van Dyke is now known as Penis Truck Lesbian

We live in a culture of political correctness. It is this very movement that has rightly fought for those that are unfairly marginalized. Political correctness came from the sexism, racism and overall inequality of the 1970s. But for every action, there is a consequence. Now many people will not discuss certain topics for fear of ‘committing’ political incorrectness.


As an adult, I have been on the receiving end of domestic violence, racism, sexism and bullying. That’s not bad for a middle-aged white male, living in post-modern Britain.

Yet I am not easily offended. I have a sense of humour. And most importantly, I am able to differentiate between someone poking harmless fun at me and the use of targeted insults, bullying, discrimination and the like.

Could it be that we are being too heavy-handed with the rules of engagement concerning political correctness? What if the comedy of certain jokes is abstracted from the discomfort of us not being sure of what to say in certain social circumstances. Such as in the company of someone who is disabled. Are not some of these jokes poking fun at the discomfort and ignorance of such situations? And not because the subject is being laughed at in a discriminatory way.

For example, I once bought a pug for my ex-wife. Despite the bulging eyes, squashed face and layers of fat, the pug seemed to like her. So, in this case, it could be argued the comedy is derived from the pug’s discomfort and ignorance of not knowing how to react.

I do get it when people say there should be some boundaries. For example, offensive jokes about homosexuals are not funny. I mean come on guys.


Last week a friend and I had a heated debate about the topic of political correctness.

My friend said we shouldn’t tell jokes about blind people. When I asked why he said blind people are too touchy. To be more inclusive of blind people, I suggested cutting down on jokes that have some kind of visual aid. He said he’d had it up to here with such jokes.

Ok, I said, what about burglars. Is it okay to tell jokes about them? He said no because they take things personally.

We then talked about what finding a cure for Dwarfism would lead to? He said a dwarf shortage. I told him that was not politically correct. He was quite short with me and told me to grow up.

My friend then said that people only use jokes to get a reaction. So, I said, does that mean no more jokes about chemistry?

We then started talking about racist jokes. My friend said he is so tired of jokes about Chinese people. When I asked why he said there’s like a billion of them and they’re all the same.

I later found out the real reason he dislikes such jokes. His boss fired him for making too many Asian jokes. It’s now the end of his Korea. And currently, he’s still China find another job.


Let’s be honest there will always be something someone will claim to be offended by. And yes, some of these claims are warranted. But are they all? I mean, I have sensitive teeth. Even me just saying that, offends them.

Surely there is a place for comedy, that laughs at people, but not in a prejudicial way. And if so, are we, as a society skilled enough to be able to differentiate between the two?


Originally published in Medium publication ‘The Haven‘ 21/10/19.