Jokes Should ≠ Violence


Jalil Smith, Reporter

     Everyone has heard about what happened at the 94th Academy Awards. In case you haven’t, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. The reason? Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife. Whether this is fake or not is not the problem. The issue, however,  is that Rock appeared to be assaulted for doing his job.

     I feel that it is important to know what a comedian is. According to Merriam-Webster, a comedian is “a professional entertainer who uses any of various physical or verbal means to be amusing.” Rock was simply doing what he was supposed to do, which is to tell jokes. Now, it’s clear that the reason wasn’t because Rock was making jokes, it’s because he was making jokes about Smith’s wife. More specifically, the fact that he made a joke about her being bald.

     Jada Pinkett Smith has alopecia, which is hair loss, which isn’t dangerous physically. Some people have said that Rock said the joke maliciously, but if he really wanted to hurt her, he could have made a joke about her “entanglement”. Not only was the joke tame, it also wasn’t meant with the intention to offend anyone. 

     This brings up a simple question: Do jokes warrant assault? The correct answer is no. There is not a single joke that someone can make that justifies that same person being beaten. Even if the joke contains slurs, stereotypes, or is downright offensive that still doesn’t mean that you can attack them. Sure, you can “cancel” the person, but attacking them is a whole different story. 

     Not only is this unjustifiable according to the law, it also shows that you don’t have self-control. If you are not able to control your actions when faced with a joke, imagine what would happen if you’re insulted. Another thing to mention is that the only reason that Smith isn’t in jail is because he’s a celebrity and Rock decided not to press charges. If it had been someone of “lower” status they would have been sent to jail. Don’t get me wrong, Smith did face repercussions, but for assault he should be in jail.

     Stuff like this seems to be getting more and more popular, such as the T.I. situation at the Our Bar ATL in Atlanta. This is not only dangerous for the comedians doing their jobs, this is also dangerous for normal people. Assaulting people for joking is being normalized, and that is not ok.