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Editorial: Laughter is the best medicine, but it can also be hurtful

April Fools’ Day may be a time for pranks and jokes, but not everything is a laughing matter. Especially in light of recent events (namely the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars), be mindful of the effects your words and actions may have on others.

You can safely make jokes about yourself and your own experiences, but consider staying away from people’s identities and things they are not able to control, such as race, disabilities or illnesses both mental and physical.

Joking about the marginalized can hurt not only that person, but also their whole community. Punching down can quickly turn lighthearted fun into a mean-spirited joke at an entire group’s expense.

If you do plan on playing any pranks or joking around, make sure you’re not being insensitive or going too far with someone that may not enjoy the attention. Be aware of which of your friends can take a joke and which ones are best to be left alone on this pseudo-holiday.

Sometimes, we can even take it too far for friends that can “take a joke.” If you end up touching a nerve with said friend, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging their pain and addressing a mistake. You’ll save yourself from arguments and learn about your friend’s boundaries.

The spread of fake information is also common behavior on April 1, so be aware of stories that could be satire or completely false.

For example, The Scout produces our April Fool’s edition called “The Scoop,” and stories within that section are not to be taken seriously. However, we also run our typical news and sports coverage, and those articles are very much real. The difference between real and fake news is an important distinction to make, especially on April 1.

When both deciphering information on the internet and when planning out your April Fools’ Day antics, use a combination of common sense and the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

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