Somewhere along the line, I think I must have missed the news of the International Bigot Alliance conference – that annual event where the world’s inconsiderate, ignorant and uncaring convene to discuss new and innovative ways to simultaneously keep the disadvantaged down, whilst defending the status quo.

Having come to the general consensus that their views were likely to cause offense when overtly and directly expressed, the International Bigot Alliance were faced with a dilemma- how could they disguise their inherently racist, sexist, homophobic and ableist views? And how could they do this in such in which they could successfully blame the victims of their bullying if they dared to take offence?

And so, the term ‘banter’ was born.

Don’t get the New Banter confused with the original meaning of the word. There was a rose-tinted, nostalgic time when banter meant an exchange of light, playful remarks, and good-natured raillery. But the New Banter couldn’t be further than that definition. Instead, it’s used as a cover up to bully and intimidate, and as a tool to assert privilege over those who are less advantaged.

The New Banter gleefully stagnates in its own regressive ideals, then spits them out in the form of ugly jokes, hoping that nobody will notice.

Pioneers of the New Banter will call you humorless, fun-hating, or ‘too serious’ when you object to their ignorant bullying. Don’t be fooled into thinking that members of the International Bigot Alliance only manifest themselves as your enemies, either – they can be your friends, family, co-workers or colleagues, all united by their dedication to your belittlement. You could brush it off, or you could acknowledge the fact that if these people really cared about you, they would at least take your feelings into consideration before they thoughtlessly spouted their hate disguised as jokes. If they ‘didn’t really mean it’-¬† why did they say it? If you’re ‘taking it the wrong way’- what is the right way? Pick them up on it and watch them try to derail your argument, busy shifting the issue so they don’t have to face up to the facts. As the realisation of their ignorance begins to kick in, they’ll flounder completely. This can be depressingly amusing.

Most importantly, stay alert, because as it stands, the facebook group entitled ‘justifying completely inappropriate and unacceptable as banter’ has 179,113 members and counting.

Even it was ‘just a joke’ and they ‘didn’t really mean it’, the joke was constructed to belittle, provoke, and anger you. The intent was entirely malicious, insidiously spiteful¬† – and that’s probably what they meant when they insisted that you were taking it the wrong way. Either way, it doesn’t look good.

N.B- The International Bigot Alliance may not actually exist