While increasingly considered to pair political correctness with freedom of speech, racial humor is used to sustain and ratify discrimination against race or ethnicity as acceptable- going on to describe it to be a critiquing of racism. The use of or brushing off of racist comments as ‘jokes’ to either the boundaries or make it less offensive is obnoxious. This functions as a protection of the ‘joker’ by providing detachment and distance (Jang and Cordero-Pedrosa). Laughing at such a joke is a difficult choice to make.
Our community and school are diverse, with students from different cultures. Often, discrimination based on color, ethnicity, or race is common-done subtly or not. We were in a class discussion group on cultural diversity when one member of the group asked another, who is of Chinese descent, if he was skilled in martial arts and if he would be willing to teach him. He went further reference on their lifestyle and culture of their dressing and eating of rice using chopsticks. When no other group member joined him in his inquiry, the student explained that he was only joking and that he was ‘not serious.’ I was offended by these comments passed as jokes because of the prejudice behind them. The joke maker used humor to defend his comments that heavily stereotyped the Chinese student and was subsequently racist.
Remaining mute in light of a racist joke drives the maker of the joke to be defensive. When a person chooses not to engage in a joke, perhaps by not laughing at it, it is attributed to the possibility that the person took offense on the joke or perceived the joke as an attack. (Greengross, 2011).
Jang, I Jin and Carlos Cordero-Pedrosa. “To Laugh or Not to Laugh at Racist Jokes.” Peace Revies: Journal of Social Justice (n.d.): 474-481.
Greengross, G. (2011). Does Racist Humor Promote Racism?. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/humor-sapiens/201107/does-racist-humor-promote-racism.