Lately, sentiments spend a lot of time getting hurt.
ABC said something in jest. DEF, GHI, MNO, STU and YZA get offended. PQR, VWX and JKL don't because they happen to be ABC's friends and know that s/he was just trying to be funny. The point being Justine Sacco is an international figure now. 24 hours ago, nobody cared whether she existed. One lousy *white* tweet and the lady (because of the way she conducted herself post that stupid tweet) has turned jobless, facing online harassment while providing free fodder for viral news.
Let's gear back a bit.
The issue here, at least for those who are offended (or want to be offended), is the utter generalization on Justine's part. She cracks a joke insinuating AIDS is restricted to Africans or blacks in general. Of course, she's grossly mistaken—factually speaking. At the same time, one can't dismiss the fact that she's white. If the offenders say that not all Africans suffer from AIDS, then she can rebut that not all whites suffer from AIDS either. For argument's sake of course. The prism remains the same. Perception differs.
The real reason why her case got highlighted is because of the sensitivity attached to AIDS and its correlation to Africa. She would have had it difficult if she were to associate a country/continent with a joke on cancer. She was simply idiotic enough to choose the wrong disease. She should have gone for depression. Nobody flinches a bit while hearing a terrible gag on depression. On the contrary, people laugh along. Always. Which itself is a joke because depression is so damn neglected while it silently does the damage. Perhaps ignorance and humour work for each other.
Let's gear forward a bit.
Ironically, the aforesaid furore took place on an online platform. A mythical place where you could say anything and get away with it. Unless you fail to get away with it. Like Ms Sacco recently learnt. She just didn't realize the extent of poor souls she might hurt by her words. You see, the thing is these wounded folks never cracked a clichéd/chauvinist/jingoist/sexist/biased joke in their life, let alone posted something equally dumb on Twitter. They love each other like biblical God meant them to. They never post an offensive one-liner about a country they don't approve of or a football club they don't support. Just pure love trending everywhere. In such a scenario, it's hard to understand how sentiments end up injuring themselves so much.
Oh, i forgot to mention the word racism above. How insensitive of me!