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When It Comes To Racist Jokes, There's A Real Reason Why No One's Laughing

'Technically, you can make jokes about whatever you want,' Ramsey says. 'But there will always be consequences.'

We've all been there — at a family dinner or hanging with our friends — and someone says something that's just not cool. (You can almost hear that record-scratch noise.)

But what do you do: Awkwardly laugh? Start a fight? Go silent?

Well, on this week's episode of "Decoded," Franchesca Ramsey gives you some much-needed tips on how to handle bad jokes — the ones that aren't just unfunny or offensive, but oppressive.

Studies have found that these jokes do have an effect on the attitudes of those who hear them: Jokes that use marginalized groups as the punch-line can reinforce negative stereotypes and sway public opinion into thinking "the discrimination is justified," says Ramsay.

"Technically, you can make jokes about whatever you want," says Ramsay. "But there will always be consequences. So, using 'it's just a joke,' doesn't make it exempt from criticism — nor does complaining about 'political correctness.'"

Besides, when it comes to comedy, you need to earn the lols. A good rule to follow is to try and punch up instead of down -- jokes at the expense of those who are already marginalized never land as well.

For More Information On Racial Bias, Visit Look Different.