Introduction

After beginning a path of journalism, studying writing styles, philosophy, and looking to understand the many drivers influencing people in all societies, you quickly realize how complex everything really is. Furthermore, being a part of a startup media firm in potentially the largest and fastest information exchange ever known to man that is focused on solving social and environmental issues with a heavy focus on race conflict or the narrative behind racism, the problem quickly gets even more complex. For the sake of this article, we are focusing solely on jokes. I know, right? What do jokes have to do with racism? However playful, many times the person telling the joke is meant to hurt the other person. This may seem subjective, but, please be open and honest with yourself when reading this.

Remembering when we were children the old saying “making fun of” was never very fun. Looking back, most of the time it not only hurt me personally, I can’t remember anyone that enjoyed getting made fun of. Even the best jokers’ in the class were subject to this as when the card was flipped on them and they were made fun of, they too were in tears. Let’s face it, in most situations even with good friends, jokes aren’t very funny. In fact, they hurt and still as an adult it happens all the time to people all around me. Let’s go through a few jokes and dissect them a bit, and use our imagination and do some thought experiments for jokes based on racism. We know they are a bit corny, but, it is a thought process.

Please note: If jokes can be hard on people, then racism jokes can really be hard on people.  

 

Racism Joke #1

On the roof of a very tall building are four men; one is Asian, one is Mexican, one is black, and the last one is white. The Asian walks to the ledge and says, “This is for all my people” and jumps off the roof. Next, the Mexican walks to the ledge and also says, “This is for all my people” and then he jumps off the roof. Next is the black guy’s turn. The black guy walks to the ledge and says, “This is for all my people” and then throws the white guy off the roof.

Now let’s pick this apart. The first things that hit me are, this joke is pretty lame. But, what is the premise here? Are the men all committing suicide? Regardless, it ends with the black man throwing the white man off the building. I can only guess what that means. My guess is, after the while man has been suppressing black men for decades, the black man finally won one for his people. This racism sarcasm isn’t very funny. Maybe for black people, it is. But, is it just against white people here? The fact that the Mexican and the Asian jumped first it seems it is showing that the black man won one on each of the other men. We all know that white people through colonialism were incredibly focused on racism whether most would like to look at it that way or not, but, they also were to the American Indians, Mexicans, and tried to have their way with Asian Indians and Asians as well. Part of the problem is that Africans sold off Africans as well. Although jokes are funny, they also hold deep-rooted meaning and encourage people to hold on to hurtful feelings by allowing themselves to laugh at something they are angry about.

 

Racism Joke #2

A black Jewish boy runs home from school one day and asks his father, “Daddy, am I more Jewish or more black?” The dad replies, “Why do you want to know, son?” “Because a kid at school is selling a bike for $50 and I want to know if I should talk him down to $40 or just steal it!”

Here we simply are calling Jewish people cheap and calling black people thieves. Personally, I am not even sure I could say that this is true for all parts of the world even in America. Jewish people may be financially intelligent by negotiating deals. Blacks, on the other hand, just keep getting a bad reputation after being pushed into slavery and in all honesty, whether a slave or living in the slums, who wouldn’t steal in those situations to try and get out of it?  

 

Racism Joke #3

God tried to make everyone different. He got bored by the time he got to China.

Now this one is a pickle. What do you think it means? It could mean a number of things as it is kind of ambiguous. The first thing that comes to mind is looks or physical appearance. The underlying racism factor could mean all Asians are ugly. But, we all this isn’t true. Or it could be about intelligence as all Asians are stupid. And we also know Asians are pretty smart. The last thing that comes to mind is, all Asians have a disability of some sort. And obviously, this isn’t true. It could also mean all of the above and more in which even if that were true, why would we joke about it? Wouldn’t the just thing be to help them?

We took the first two jokes from the article Joke Bank – Racist Jokes, and the third from Top Ten Funniest Asian Jokes. I’m sure we could have found much more offensive, hateful, and condescending jokes, but, the point is, we laugh quickly until our friends get hurt or someone hears you and gets offended. Most jokes start out from a root issue and to try and make light of it. In most cases that is fine. In the case of racism, is it fine? I mean really think about it, if we have such a bad racism issue in the world today, is it really ok to joke about anything associated with it? We are far away from solving problems built on racism and it is not convincing enough to say it’s ok for racism jokes to occur. If you are reading this and think its dumb to even talk about, that is fine. But, really step away and think about it. Go even test it out. And then come back and ask yourself if it is fine.