Category Archives: Jokes

There are many ways to be funny.

Jokes and Racism – In Our Iranian Culture

Have you ever noticed that our daily life’s activities and hobbies could sound ill-mannered and hurtful to other people? Have you ever meet people who get offended by jokes, even though we all say those jokes are just for being funny?

There is a huge relationship between jokes and latent racism among us; again I am talking about us as a group, as Iranian people. You many now get offended saying why am I in the world calling us racist?

No, I am not doing that.

What I try to say is that in every culture, there are external factors in our lives that are hard to make sense of, why we make jokes of them. There are also internal wishes, dreams, hopes, and desires which can be expressed in our Iranian culture in the content of jokes. It is easy then to say: “I am joking”, “I did not mean it”.

As a matter of fact, what we say, there is a meaning behind it. We choose words that make sense to us based on what we intend to say. Jokes are not always Jokes. We many times mean what we say, although we may not be brave enough to acknowledge that.

There is a relationship between jokes and racism. I really hope that researchers could use this topic one day as there must be a connection out there.

With racism, we mean ideas which are used as an indication of disliking, judging, belittling, or demising individuals, groups, nations, and others.

Many times we engage in racial comments based on our biased opinions without meaning to be racist or judgmental towards others.

Just think of what our communication in a regular day looks like: We meet people, talk, eat, walk, and tell jokes.

Jokes belong to our everyday lives; we tell jokes in every context, at work and at home, here and there. We tell jokes at the dinner table, at parties, via the Internet, in our phone conversations, and even during meetings within our communities.

We may ask, “What is wrong with that?”

Some aspects of this culture of joke-telling as a social activity have hurt many people.

Many of our jokes are placing different races, ethnic groups, and families into categories, where no one wants to be placed. You are questioning this, let’s talk more.

Most of our jokes have sexual contents. Now you would say how else would a joke be?

Let us ask: Why are our jokes sexualized and racially motivated?

Why do our jokes lean toward dehumanizing, devaluing, and unfair criticism certain groups and especially women?

What is so “funny” about these jokes anyway? How can we picture our family and friends be the character of those jokes? Those jokes we say usually talks about real people with real ethnical background. We know that for sure.

Our jokes start with someone from an ethnic background who is either dumb, perverted, or an abuser, and he does or says “funny” things in order to make a point. Each one of us knows at least a dozen of jokes, where women are sex objects and men having the first role and being the active player, are the abuser.

How many jokes have we heard where children are being molested by the man from ‘some’ city and ‘……..’?

How many jokes do we know where women or children are slaves for many things? Sometimes the character does things that sound “funny,” yet most of the time, by what we are saying, we victimize someone or some group.

Don’t you think these jokes have other, hidden functions and that they project something else into our culture?

How about considering having some dignity and stopping telling these types of jokes?

How about being brave and admit why do we need to tell these jokes?

Some people complain about “white” people being racist; We have to explain how we are NOT racists ourselves by constantly telling sexist, racist, and de-humanizing jokes.

There are many, many websites created by our “funny” people and they are having “fun” by spreading this germ of racist and sexist jokes.

How about to use our humanistic eyes and value people? We can still make jokes of many things and situations? We have a tendency to be most active Joke makers!

Being funny is different that disrespecting people. Being funny can happen in the realm of respect and dignity.

Racial jokes indeed reflect a dismantled hatred and segregation. These jokes only and only increase the already existing conflicts.

Jokes are our words, words are our thoughts, our thoughts are our beliefs, and our beliefs reflect our inner world. We should be more careful with what we say and how we say it!

Being funny can occur in the realm of admiration and protection of others’ rights! We live in a world where we already suffer from the anxiety of the words that are creating harm and hate. We need to redefine our needs for joke telling.

With the current trends as Stand Up-Comedians, we could learn more how to polish our jokes. Using critical eyes into our culture and identity is positive in order to create a dialog. However what we do we call groups for names and we make it believable that this or other group are careless, sexualized, or futile people. We tend to believe that certain accents are funny and we have the right to laugh at those accents. We also tend to use certain accents involved in every joke we say. We hurt people who have those accents. They are not less than us; we are naive to suppose that.

We have heard many complaints from our fellow Iranians talking about the prejudice, isolation, hostility, and racism that are time by time being felt or perceived in these Western countries we reside in. If we criticize others for having judgment about us, why do we continue telling the jokes that are destroying many souls and much trust among our own ethical groups?

Social hostility, social isolation, and prejudice have found a natural way into our language as we use jokes about various ethnic groups.

Social hostility is constructed by those who need to control others. This social hostility creates more fragile beliefs, broken hearts, and exposed individuals.

We need to clean our cultural language if we wish to remain whole.

We need to bring peace into our language, into our communication, into our families, into our communities, and eventually, hopefully into our Iranian way of living.

For decades these jokes have caused social hostility, which destroys respect, trust, kindness, communication, and relationships.

Jokes make us be “Us” and “Them!” We do need to be “Us,” in order to survive the destruction of our Iranian culture.

In our fragile world we hide behind facades of status, family type, wealth, and all other masks we like to use.

The sense of isolation for a group creates distance and contrasts with others, by becoming different than the other!

Do not let jokes become those walls.

Think about those individuals who isolate themselves in a group of people by establishing a specific language or behavior to show how they are better than others, nobler than others, and have more “class” than others.

For many individuals using jokes brings this feeling that they come from a different planet. Joke-telling in this way causes social hostility as a natural way for some individuals to elevate themselves.

Sometimes we do aim for being funny by telling those jokes yet we ignore how much impact it has on many souls around us.

Some groups or individuals use jokes as an element of social isolation, as a defense mechanism to mark the differences in social class, religion, race, and nations.

Isolation and conflict go hand in hand with a resolution into “nothing.”

We know how many various ethnic groups of us feel socially isolated as our ethnic background has been subject to racist and sexist jokes. We have already a history of many forms of discrimination and segregation. We do not need any more of this.

In using racist jokes we try to find superiority by using a latent antagonism, to set one group against another in order to command and to satisfy our own personal vanity.

Racist and sexist jokes could be “practical” for those of us who try to achieve the goal of becoming superior!

We cannot afford to let hostility become our way. Not again!

Prejudice and hostility are about how we naturally have the tendency to be willing to degrade others in order to elevate ourselves, nations towards nations, groups towards groups and so on.

If we do not like to be treated differently then we need to stop telling these jokes as they cause prejudice and hostility among our nation.

We need to stop this trend! Now or it will be too late. Stay away from these jokes if you are human being.
Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles June 21,2008 by this author.

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Making Jokes or Bullying

There are various search leading to middlepeace website. One of them is the concept of  “Jokes.”
I am glad that middlepeace website has send this message out there that we can not just create jokes to the cost of people’s race, color, ethnicity, gender, accent, physical shape, nationality, or any other characteristics that differ people from one another.
I can realize that people try to learn about the real meaning of jokes in our culture.  Someone searched for “jokes on making fun of an individual.” This concept of making fun of an individual even in the format of a joke is called: Bullying.   What is unfortunate is that in our Persian language, the word “bullying” does not really show the depth of this act.

We tend to call everything as a “joke”, even when we are really bullying someone.  Regrettably in our Iranian culture, bullying is a top to down act and no one escapes this horrible behavior by those who believe they are “joking” and those who do this act on purpose.  The sad story is that the act of bullying is part of our everyday life (back home and everywhere) passed down from those in power who intend to hurt people based on their “different”characteristics: Religion, race, wealth, status, and a vast variety of other reasons.  In all those  bullying type actions that are simply called “Jokes”, people are hurt in all levels: physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.  We have to discuss this topic as it has never been done before.

Bullying with excuse of “making jokes” happens everyday in all kind of relationships. We have to stop it by discussing  why it is not acceptable.  We can not hide behind the facade of “jokes” anymore. Bullying someone or making joke of an individual is not funny.
Poran Poregbal
Www.middlepeace.com

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Happy Time

We should be able to redirect our jokes from negative to positive, from subjective to objective, from biased to unbiased and from racist to non-racist.

Now we may get scared from ever telling any jokes. The purpose of this article is to emphasize the positive aspects of joke-telling in our culture.

A majority of our people tend to be happy, positive, and energetic people who love to sing, dance, laugh, and have fun. We have to appreciate anything that supports the notion of happiness in our culture, anything that makes our people resilient and strong in dealing with many complex life situations.

We may remember those winter evenings when we were tucked in the Korsi (the fireplace in the middle of the room) and stream of stories, jokes, and funny oral narratives would make us warm and happy.

Granparents would read from Ferdousi and stories of Shahnameh, or just take their time to say funny stories about their own childhood. We have a history of making jokes of hard moments of life and this is resiliency.

Sigmund Freud writes about jokes in 1905. I guess jokes have always had functions in human story. Freud in his work “Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious” argues tat jokes are “judgments which produces a comic contrast” (1963).

With judgments (gezavat, pishdavari) he means of course all the things that we relate to someone or some group of people, while these are only our ideas not the reality necessary.

The contrast is about the differences between what people perceive something be like and how the event unfolds in that joke. In our Persian cultural of jokes, we make fun of someone who is being depicted as less than us, we as modern, educated, and wise people who know more than the person doing wrongful things. The contrast or the distance to what is perceived as “normal” makes the story supposedly “funny.”

Freud talks about the relation to the unconscious, the things that we are not aware of or do not know about their whereabouts. If we joke about a woman who is pictured as a sex object, would this mean that our men like that idea of a “free woman”? This is a huge discussion. I am not sure what the answer is, yet we can think about what is going on behind those walls we create in our jokes. We can question the world of “ugliness” that may exist in the collective thoughts when these jokes are being heard without any reaction.

Freud also argues that joking is playing with ideas, it is about attitudes toward the object of our jokes, and it is about a playful judgment. Jokes looks at the differences between people rather than similarities, why it is important to be objective, non-discriminatory, and non-biased when we deal with our differences.

For sure we are all different and we can celebrate those differences with funny, non-harming, and non-directive jokes.

What if we could give the funny spirit back to our our jokes? If we could say jokes about “someone” without referring to any nation, ethnical group or even any gender (male/female)?

What if we could make jokes without referring to a certain accent, or without attributing women to sex objects or else?

What if we could use our ancestor’s method of telling funny stories about things we do? This is a way of self reflecting, a way of self-criticizing and a way of showing that we have tolerance. We all need to be happy and we have to work on creating fun moments for all of us.

Hope can do it all?!

November 22, 2007

www.middlepeace.com

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Violent Jokes


Culture of violence creates its own spheres of interpersonal relationships.  Culture is around us and we live with it.  However, at times we forget how we create our own cultures. Part of this culture creation is how we tell stories or jokes.

We construct and perpetuate the notion of violence in ways we may not be aware of.  We promote a sense of  hopelessness, abuse, neglect, rape, and various deviations when we engage in telling narratives that only have violent contents.

We internalize violence and desensitize cruelty.

We compare, contrast, confront, label, stigmatize, and generalize negativity and violence enforced upon us.

Instead of rejecting these dark areas impacting our lives, we are incorporating them into our lives. What do I mean?

Have you noticed that war, killings, murders, death, hangings, executions, assassinations, and torture have found a way into our daily life?

How? I will tell you!

How many jokes we hear about the war and the way people were dismembered and disabled?

How many jokes we tell about the way people were killed by chemicals, gas, mass weapon destruction, bombs, rockets, missiles and all that?

How many jokes we share about how people are being punished and tortured in “Hell”/ “Jahanam” as we say?

How many jokes we know regarding how men and women would be punished differently due to adult life they choose to have?

How many jokes we tell about people who are being given choice for the way they want to be dead? (Those choices are about how less painful dead could be!)

How many jokes we make about clothes restrictions for women in our home country and what the responses of women would be?

How many jokes we hear about child molestation, addictions, prostitution, theft, and other social issues no one wants to deal with it in our home country?

The lists go on and on……

There is a certain pattern in all these jokes; they are projecting the hard reality caused by human caused disasters.

Why is that?

May be we try to make fun these horrible experiences that makes no sense whatsoever!

Now the question is:

When did killing and torture become this normal in our culture?

When did we lose feelings /emotions about people being punished for any reason?

Why should punishment be the response for everything?

Why we are this much discouraged and hopeless?

Why we have let a culture of violence encompass our daily life?

Why we are perpetuating what is not right, what is not humanistic, and what is not appropriate?

What do we think we are passing down to our next generations?

Think about this!

What is your idea behind all the horrible jokes we tell each other?

I assume we can not joke around topics such as happiness, joy, love, partnership, and kindness in our jokes?

I assume you would say Jokes are supposed to be this way!

But, haven’t we lost the point?!

July 26, 2007

www.middlepeace.com

 

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Jokes and Racism

 

 

Did you know that some of our jokes have racist content and meaning? No?

Have you ever noticed that our daily life activities and hobbies could be damaging to other people? Many times we engage us in racial comments without meaning being racist or against others. Just think of how our communication in a regular day looks like.

We meet people, talk, eat, walk, and say jokes. Jokes belong to our everyday life; we say jokes in every context, work and home, here and there. We say jokes at the dinner table, in our parties, via internet, in our phone conversations and even in our meetings within our communities. We may ask what is wrong with that.

Some aspects of these joke-telling as a social activity have hurt many people forever. Many of our jokes are placing many different races, ethical groups, and families in various categories, where no one wants to belong to. You are questioning this, let’s talk more!

Why are our jokes sexualized and racially motivated?

Why do our jokes lean toward dehumanizing, devaluing, and belittling certain groups and especially women?

What’s so “funny” about these jokes?

Our jokes start with someone from an ethnic background who is either dumb, perverted, or an abuser, and he does or says “funny” things in order to make a point. Each one of us knows at least a dozen jokes, where women are sex objects and men are the active player, the abuser. How many jokes we have heard where children are being molested from the man from ‘some’ city and ‘……..’?

How many jokes do we know where women or children are slaves for many things? Sometimes the character does things that sound “funny,” yet most of the time by what we’re saying we victimize someone or some group!

Don’t you think these jokes have other, hidden functions and that they project something else into our culture?

Have some dignity and stop telling those jokes!

Some people complain about “white” people being racist, we have to explain how we are NOT racists ourselves!

There are many, many websites created by our “funny” people and they are having “fun” by spreading this germ of racist and sexist jokes.

Be human and value your people even when you want to be funny!

Many years ago, Stockholm University had a guest speaker from the former Yugoslavia. He was analyzing the war and the suffering of his people. One of the areas he discussed was regarding the decades of racist jokes among various groups, each about the other. The jokes indeed reflected the hatred and segregation, while creating more conflicts. We all know what happened next in that country.

Jokes are words, words are our thoughts, our thoughts are our beliefs, and our beliefs reflect our inner world. Be careful with what you say!

Being funny can occur in the realm of respect and protection of others’ rights!

I have many times heard our fellow Iranian talking about prejudice, isolation, hostility, and racism that was practiced by some groups, special the ‘white people.’ We should remind ourselves when we try to be funny and use those jokes that is destroying many souls and much trust in various ethical groups.

Social hostility, social isolation, and prejudice has found a natural way in our language when we use jokes about various ethnic groups.

Social hostility is constructed by those who need to control others. This social hostility creates more fragile beliefs, broken hearts, and exposed individuals. We need to clean our cultural luggage if we wish to remain whole.

We need to bring peace into our language, into our communication, into our families, into our communities, and eventually hopefully to our Iranian way of living.

These jokes have for decades caused social hostility which destroys respect, trust, kindness, communication, and relationship. Jokes makes us be WE and Them! We do need to be WE, in order to survive the invasion of our culture.

In our fragile world we hide behind walls of nations, religions, groups, and classes! The sense of isolation for a group creates distance and contrasts with others, by becoming different than the other! Do not let jokes become those walls.

Think about those individuals who isolate themselves in a group of people by establishing language or behavior to show how they are better than others, nobler than others, and have more ”class” than others. Using jokes for many individual brings this feeling, that they come from a different planet. Jokes telling in this way causes social hostility as a natural way for some individuals to elevate themselves. Sometimes we do not mean anything else than being funny with telling those jokes, yet, we forget how much impact it has on many souls.

Some groups or individuals use jokes as element of social isolation, as a defense mechanism to mark the differences in social class, religion, races and nations. Isolation and conflict goes hand in hand, with a resolution into “noting”. Sometimes the isolated group becomes a spiritual one, better than neighbors, some one who uses a hostile mood and prevails gossip, insecurities, mood changes. We know how many various ethnic groups of us feel being socially isolated as their ethnic background has been subject to racist and sexist jokes.

Once using racist jokes we try to find superiority by using a latent antagonism, to set one group against another in order to command and to satisfy their own personal vanity. Racist and sexist jokes could be ”useful” for those of us who try to attain goal of becoming superior! We can not afford to let hostility become our way. Not again!

Prejudice and hostility is about how we naturally have the tendency to be willing to degrade others in order to elevate ourselves, nations towards nations, group towards groups and so on. If we do not like to be treated different then we need to stop saying those jokes as they cause prejudice and hostility among our nation. We need to stop this trend! Now or it will be late!

August 28, 2007

www.middlepeace.com

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