On Ignorance and Racial Jokes in the Workplace.

I’m white, and not Jewish, so why then would I be put off by some racial jokes volleyed around my office? Why would I be downright offended and disgusted?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made my share of jokes, but that was when I was in elementary, or maybe high school. When I was a dumb kid, ignorant. Not now, not at 41, after meeting new people in life, encountering and learning about different cultures, and trying to understand what it means to be a human being. I’m trying to improve as I get older. Shouldn’t everybody?

I make my share of other kinds of jokes, but I refuse to make fun of a race. I will not make stereotypical wisecracks about black people, or people of any other color or heritage, and I will not tolerate jokes regarding the plight of Jews during the Holocaust which, even though I am not Jewish, has had a profound effect on my family.

Earlier today at work I overheard a few jokes about Jews with numbers tatooed on their arms, and even some jests about the gas chamber. Overheard is an understatement really, the jokes were made quite audible within 5 feed of my desk.

Now I don’t expect that the jokesters knew my grandfather was a concentration camp survivor, or that my great grandparents were taken away by force during the early stages of the invasion of Latvia, and never heard from again (probably gassed). But does it matter whether they knew? I don’t think so. It just amazes, and angers how any human being, with an iota of a conscience, respect, or decency can make such jokes and still go on feeling good about themselves.

What’s worse, these people are apparently believers in a god. At least one of them seems to consider himself a good and honerable Christian. Huh? Now that’s a joke! Talk about hypocrisy, some Christians are among the worst offenders!

Curious about how common workplace racism is today I decided to do a quick web search and was surprised, naively so I guess, to see that it is alive and well. In some cases the bigots even use code words to make their wisecracks. What is wrong with people that they think racial-based jokes are acceptible, or even remotely humorous? What the hell is so funny about genocide? What’s so funny about slavery, murder, or rape?

No one is spared. Jews, blacks, Japanese, Chinese, Native Americans, no one. It’s sickening.

I was completely offended by the belittling of the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust, but do you want to know what other joke got to me? It happened a few months ago, and was when the alleged Christian (a caucasian), upon learning that I was offended by a joke he had made against black people, stated, “I have tons of black people in my family tree, and…” then he followed it up with a lynching remark. I don’t want to repeat the sick comment here.

That’s just not funny. Not in the least. What a good Christian, huh? To say that this kind of humor just doesn’t belong anymore is not accurate. This kind of humor should never have been.


One Reply to “On Ignorance and Racial Jokes in the Workplace.”

  1. I didn’t realize that those comedians made lynching or gas chamber jokes. Racial humor that is based on obviously false or exaggerated racial stereotypes can be comical when delivered by a comedian in the right venue. But I’ve never heard Chris Rock, or Dice, or any others make fun of such atrocities as genocide or racially-incited violence or murder.

    Most racially based jokes offered by those comedians are made to illustrate the utter stupidity in racism.

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