There are many ways to fight the people and organizations that are working to hold you back. Standing up to the schoolyard bully and fighting head-on is certainly one approach. Counter-attacks, hitting your enemy at their point of weakness, and peaceful protest are all proven strategies. One of my favorites –and often overlooked — is using humor to defuse a combative situation.
As the Olympic games began in Sochi, anti-gay sentiment reached a heightened state. Last week, the mayor of Sochi told the BBC that there were no gays in his city and said being gay was not accepted in the region. The Russian government has increasingly detained homosexuals and supporters, simply for being themselves. Discrimination has escalated, with many LGBT athletes fearing for their safety in what should be an international celebration of diversity and inclusiveness.
The Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion fired back, using humor as their weapon of choice:
They launched this hilarious video on YouTube, showing two men getting very close as part of the luge competition. With the 80’s classic “Don’t You Want Me Baby” playing in the background, the video uses humor to combat homophobia. The clip concludes by saying, “The games have always been a little gay. Let’s fight to keep them that way. Show your support for the equality of all athletes by changing your Facebook profile picture with us at https://bit.ly/keepthegamesgay.”
Far more effective than yelling and screaming, the video went viral and has been seen by millions, shining light on a very serious matter. Rather than fighting fire with fire, this progressive organization used laughter to take down the irrational hatred of the protesting bigots.
We all face resistance on our lives, ranging from teachers to bosses to parents to bureaucrats. Going toe-to-toe can work in certain cases, but never forget the power of humor to make a strong point in a non-threatening way. A good laugh can be mightier than the sword. Even if you don’t take down your enemies with a joke, it can be a powerful mechanism for both coping and rallying support.
The next time you’re facing a threat, think about using humor to shine a mirror in your attackers face and point out the absurdity of their approach. It’s a strategy that’s been winning hearts and minds for centuries.
Now that’s a punch line we can all enjoy.