Let’s be real about racism

Just as I predicted, now that we have a black president, the racially motivated comics and jabs have been flowing in non-stop.  And just as I expected people are getting  up in arms about things that, in my opinion, really don’t matter that much. Here are just a few notable examples.

monkeycomic

watermelon

Cookies baked in "honor" of Obama's election

Cookies baked in "honor" of Obama's election

Now as a black person I guess I’m supposed to be shocked, appalled , or at the very least outraged by these comics.  I’m not. What I do find shocking is how people seem to react with amazement every time someone comes out with one of these.  I liken it to a baby playing peek-a-boo who is shocked and amazed every time the person they’re playing with’s face reappears from behind their hands.

Oh my God people are still racist!!! I can't believe it!!!

Oh my God people are still racist!!! I can't believe it!!!

Here’s a newsflash that might come as a shock to a lot of people. It’s so shocking that any political aspirations I might have had before typing this might be shattered by these next few sentences. Okay here we go. Ahem….Most people on some level are at least a teensy bit prejudiced about people of other races.

Now I’m really going to put the last nail in the coffin of my political aspirations. The “most people” described in the statement above includes me.  I would be as dishonest as most politicians if I came out and said the following: I’m totally not prejudiced. I don’t even see color.   I would never laugh at a racial joke.  **

So since most people are at least prejudiced of course some people will take it to the next level to outright racism. With that said I’m never surprised when I see racist jokes and comics come out. Although I am sometimes surprised by the lack of business savvy and/or public relations expertise exercised by some of the more high profile parties that put out some of this material. But hey, everyone does or says stupid things sometimes so whatever.  For the most part I for one am not offended by racist jokes (especially if they are funny), and even when I am offended I at least respect the people who make them’s right to free speech in this country. While I’m pretty hard to offend, I also respect peoples right to get offended about whatever they want to. ( Now racist actions are a totally different ball park. The parties involved in such acts get no sympathy from me when justice is served. But that’s another post for another day. )

All of the three jokes illustrated above resulted in some form of public outrage. The first attracted the attention of the official spokesperson for all African American outrage, Mr. Al Sharpton, and resulted in boycotting of the NY Post. The second resulted in the resignation of a California mayor. The third resulted in demonstrations outside the New York Bakery responsible for baking these commemorative cookies as well as threats to burn down the shop etc. Obviously the public is still engaged in an ongoing game of peek-a-boo with racism.

Other than a general feeling of  indifference, here are my personal feelings on these three examples. 1) None of these jokes was particularly funny to me. (If you’re going to make a racial joke at least make it funny!) 2) All three of these cases appear to be bigger demonstrations of stupidity than they are of racism.  Newspapers are suffering right now and it seems pretty stupid to toe the line like that in this economy. Or perhaps they were just gambling big that a little controversy might attract new readers to their publication. In that case maybe the folks at the NY Post were smarter than I think. But something tells me that the widespread boycott of their paper isn’t helping sales. The watermelon patch at the white house was just a stupid email forward and I think it’s ridiculous for the mayor to lose his job over it.  I get a flood of email forwards every day. If I wasted energy being outraged every time something mildly offensive was in one I’d be tired all the time. But a mayor is a public servant so he just needed to be smarter about his. And the baker who made those cookies is obviously an idiot who no longer wants to be in business. I’m not sure how his business is doing after the incident but I doubt that  angry demonstrators outside your doorstep is a big sales booster.

So the moral of this story is racism is still a fact of life, but it’s just not economically viable. We have this fabulous right to free speech in America that I will always stand up for.  But sometimes free speech has consequences.  Most people recognize this. That’s why most people who want to remain employed don’t go in to work and tell everyone how they really feel.  But obviously there are still some people who have to learn this the hard way.

**I plan expand on this in a future post….stay tuned.

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4 Responses to “Let’s be real about racism”

  1. Christian Says:

    Very well said. I agree with you racism premise. I’ll go one step further; If you can’t find a little bit of racism in the world most days, you’re walking around with blinders on. Your blog is a very good read. i’m going to direct some more traffic your way. Excellent baby picture.

  2. Nothing really shocking here. Not even the party about everyone being a little racist. I actually find it a little bit funny that 8 years ago(or 4 years ago, I can’t remember) when Al Sharpton ran for president there were all these comedians telling these jokes about why Al Sharpton can’t be president. About the perm being too much, about how they would be playing “dice” in the white house, about how he would leave a ring around the tub, and that perm would get the pillow cases in the Lincoln Room all messed up. People laughed and joked and HAHAHAHA’d. A few months ago Chris Rock made all these jokes about having a black president.. people laughed and joked and HAHAHAHA’d. But let a “caucasian” tell these same jokes or USA Today to publish a similar joke in their paper… “Boycotts for days. It’s one thing to be a tad bit racist(understood) but a hipocrite(be real). Why is it okay for blacks to laugh at jokes making jokes of each other but a white person can’t tell the same joke. Why is it okay for blacks to make jokes about white people and laugh but somehow the inverse is not the same? 450 years of slavery makes it okay? If you want equality you have to get rid of these double standards. Either it’s not okay for ANYONE to do it or it’s okay for EVERYONE to do it. You don’t get special social previleges because of your race… sorry.

    But my bad… that may have been a little bit of topic

  3. I was being sarcastic when I said what I was about to say was shocking…but I totally agree…It’s very hypoctirical to laugh when Chris Rock makes a joke about a black man but get upset when some white guy does the same thing. I think I said something in a past post about black people being ready to take jokes when they came out about Obama because they were bound to come out. I personally think everyone needs to lighten up. Black people are wasting energy protesting every joke they don’t like. How about putting that energy into protesting something that is really doing black people harm like violence, inadequate education, or For the Love of Ray J!

  4. Dear Friends, Happy April Fool’s Day!!!

    Two guys were in a bar, and they were both watching the television when the news came on. It showed a guy on a bridge who was about to jump, obviously suicidal.
    “I’ll bet you $10 he’ll jump,” said the first guy.
    “Bet you $10 he won’t,” said the second guy.
    Then, the guy on the television closed his eyes and threw himself off the bridge. The second guy hands the first guy the money.
    “I can’t take your money,” said the first guy. “I cheated you. The same story was on the five o’clock news.”
    “No, no. Take it,” said the second guy. “I saw the five o’clock news too. I just didn’t think the guy was dumb enough to jump again!”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

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