social discrimination

Watch: Can a dose of obscenity and humour help counter racism? Philosopher Slavoj Žižek thinks so

The argument: telling racist jokes in a non-racist way is better than using politically correct language.


Political correctness is not new, but it has certainly put many under pressure to use the right words to describe a community or its members without demeaning them.

This has provided support to minorities – including women, LGBTQ groups, many races, the disabled, some religious groups – who have been struggling to assert their rights to an equal and dignified life.

But political correctness has also raised socio-political sensitivities, leading to abuse of the term, so much so that one cannot openly speak of differences between people without running the risk of being offensive.

Even if one were to be joking about it.

Philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek feels that “dirty jokes” about racism and sexism can actually do what political correctness cannot – reduce animosity and generate genuine interactions between communities. Provided we’re willing to laugh at ourselves.

The video above expands on Zizek’s argument that covering up racism with nice words doesn’t eradicate it. But laughing at one another’s differences – in the right way – can unite the worlds of “others”.

“Let’s say I’m an Indian and you’re an African American. We are telling all the time dirty jokes to each other, about each other, about ourselves, but in such a way that we just laugh and the more we are telling them the more we are friends. Why? Because in this way we really resolved the tension of racism.”

Žižek has consistently been critical of political correctness as it “tries to conceal racism and sexism, but does not address the underlying causes of the problems.” Žižek fears that it could be an effective form of totalitarianism (video below), forcing behaviour tinged with notes of “I know better than you what you really want”.

Žižek on why 'Political Correctness' gets in its own way.

Earlier, American stand-up comedian George Carlin pulled out a list of words that he feels are not offensive in themselves, but have become that way thanks to the context or the user. Before his death in 2008, Carlin wrote a book titled When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? (video below) in which he mocked at the “politically correct police” for disguising intolerance as tolerance.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.