By Malia Simon
The removal of Nimesh Patel in the middle of his set, due to the contentious nature of one of his jokes, has generated a variety of responses. It’s important to first disclose that I was not an attendee of cultureSHOCK and can only speak on the story as I’ve read it in Spectator. As quoted by Spectator, “Patel joked that being gay cannot be a choice because ‘no one looks in the mirror and thinks, ‘this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.’” Breaking down this joke, I perceive its premise to exist in two parts: that homosexuality is definitely not a choice, and that it is difficult to be a black person in America (granted, expressed in an edgier way). Some people felt personally offended by this joke, and others throughout the performance. I don’t wish to deny this. My personal opinion cannot, and should not, rationally be used to invalidate another’s. In fact, the purpose of this letter is not to argue whether or not the joke was offensive, because it’s almost beside the point. Even if the joke was one that personally offended me, I still would take issue with the way Patel was treated—and how comedy was treated as a whole....