• Migration is Beautiful

    "Meet powerhouse artist/activist Favianna Rodriguez — a leading voice in the movement of artists raising awareness about U.S. immigration issues."

    - I am OTHER

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    The Untold Story of Latinos in America “We are all Americans of the New World, and our most dangerous enemies are not each other, but the great wall of ignorance between us.”

    Juan González, Harvest of Empire

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Migration is Beautiful | Favianna Rodriguez | I am OTHER

"Meet powerhouse artist/activist Favianna Rodriguez — a leading voice in the movement of artists raising awareness about U.S. ...

Friday, July 29, 2011

To Joke or not to Joke

Humor is one of the joys of life and also a great stress reliever. But what topics are out of bounds? When does humor land you in hot water? Is life too serious to joke about anything?

I've struggled with these questions and flip flopped on the answers my whole life. I've been guilty of attempting to make light of the way European-Americans talk vs African-Americans. Maybe some of you are upset at even the thought that I would dare to step into that controversial stereotyping. I have also been easily offended myself when a co-worker made a racist joke about refried beans. He even made the joke at work. wtf iwwsp (what the f is wrong with some people)

If you're not a professional comedian stay away from the sensitive areas of race, culture, class, ethnicity, and handicaps. Call me boring, but is it really worth sounding like a racist a-hole for a few chuckles?

Switching gears to my serious topic. I'm talking about immigration policy with a family member. (I know. Bad idea.) When this family member says "The problem is that immigrants are draining the system!", and (as if that wasn't enough) "If we open the boarders ALL Mexicans will be up in the U.S.!"?

To put you in my shoes -- in the SAME room is my Mexican wife and my 6 year old Chicana daughter. I kid you not.

I had played this scene over and over in my head before I even realized that I could have made a joke out of it. I could have said "I know huh!? What should we do with them!?" "(insert cruel and unusual punishment up to and including genocide)" Now, if I did say that, the problem is that I don't think six-year-olds are good at understanding sarcasm and devil's advocate. I suppose I should have turned the whole situation into a teaching moment of how to use sarcasm in a humorous way and how to play devil's advocate.

My problem is -- when someone is offensive -- I'm not in a laughing mood anymore.

So what would you have said if you were me?