When we were kids there weren't any jokes that were off-limits.
I wish I had a dime for every time I heard the joke about Italians that ends with "Dago wop,wop,wop."
I never once laughed at that joke although the non-Italian guys around me were howling.
Of course, growing up I told all the Polish jokes, black jokes and Mexican, German...
...Geez, every kind of joke!
And I knew guys of all those heritages and they listened to my stupidity. Some of them laughed with me, but deep down they must have felt the same way I felt when I heard the Italian joke.
That's not funny.
And now there's a movement out there that says, "We're too politically correct!"
As if not telling racist jokes is a bad move.
Yet I feel that comedians have some freedoms to some extent...not to be mean-spirited, but to tell jokes in the context of a well-written act.
Michael Richards famously showed everyone how NOT to do it.
Yet where it isn't funny at all is in the workplace. Most regular folk don't have the chops to be able to tell such jokes without thoroughly offending others.
I bring this up because there is a lot of tension between all races and nationalities and it's usually because someone thinks they're being funny.
I also read a beautifully written piece by a young black man who spoke of what it ACTUALLY feels like to be a black kid growing up in a mostly white area.
The jokes are told non-stop and the funny man telling the joke always says "Come on, man, you know I'm not a racist!"
The very funny comedian, the late Patrice O'Neal once said "no one has ever admitted to being racist."
And that's mostly definitely true...
...but if you say racist things over and over...
...you might be racist.
Through the years I've always enjoyed looking for the 'funny' in all situations.
I said some dumb things to people who pretended not to acknowledge that there was more stupidity than racism involved.
I'm not sure where the line should be drawn...
...it's just that reading it from the black kid...
It made me think.
And thinking might just stop me from being stupid the next time I hear something "funny."
I also must say that I cut myself a little bit of a break because each generation seems to have figured it all out just a little bit more.
We have a long ways to go...
...but at least we are starting to figure out that some of it just isn't funny.
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