Echo “joke” issue no joke

I am writing to express my solidarity with Maggie Burgos’s powerful response in the Civil Discourse to the article in the recent “joke” issue of the Colby Echo, targeting the women’s rugby team. Indeed, I know that I am not alone in having found the entire “joke” issue unfunny, not to mention a violation of both the spirit and the promises of the Colby affirmation. From first page to last the issue reveals the persistence on campus of a culture that considers sexism, sexual violence, homophobia, white supremacy, and pure nastiness to be sources of levity. Certainly humor can be used effectively to challenge dehumanizing social norms and ideologies, to paraphrase one of my colleagues. Colby students have demonstrated on many occasions that they have all the skills they need intellectually and creatively to do this. But whatever its intentions, in my view this “joke” issue of the Echo succeeded only in reinforcing and (apparently) justifying some of the most  vicious social norms and ideologies, which it seasoned with gratuitous unkindness.

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