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

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