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Old 12-01-2005, 05:40 AM   #46
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additionally, sometimes humor like this exposes our own racism, prejudices, etc.
My friend and i once were joking at a party- which was a mistake - about how mexicans should learn from black people; just be lazy and let the government pay for your living. Some people really thought what we were saying was funny; some didn't. Do I actually think black people are lazy? No, i actually think the opposite. However, a lot of the people at this party were oblivious white college kids who i know from conversations actually believe this sort of thing.
Humor has a way of dealing blows to people's ideas and beliefs very softly, and other times very harshly.
Another time when i worked at a retail store in torrance, CA, a fellow overnighter wanted to borrow a knife, i joked "I dunno, give a knife to a black man" and he replied "don't you know? we only carry guns." well, another worker was very offended by this. she didn't understand that we were just mocking society and its stereotypes.

Again, for the record: I am not a "fan" of abortion. I do not believe black people are lazy, nor do i believe their choice of weapon is just a gun
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Old 12-01-2005, 02:16 PM   #47
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guess my jokes weren't funny....
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Old 12-01-2005, 02:38 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally posted by blueyedpoet
guess my jokes weren't funny....
It's just...tricky. You really have to know your audience before you makes jokes like that. We've had the discussion in here many times about the expression "that's so gay." I use it with my closest gay friends, and they use it as well. Recently I was with some friends--one gay couple and one straight man--and the straight man was trying on some clothes that the gay couple were going to get rid of. He put on one really tight (and ugly) tank top and I burst out laughing and said, "That is sooo gay" and we all laughed, because as my gay friends understand the expression, it means "bad gay" or "tacky gay." But I would never say something like that when I wasn't sure how it would be taken. I've found that a lot of younger gay men as well as well-meaning friends of gays are more offended by the expression than older ones who've been around and out for a long time. This particular usage in the example I gave is also pretty benign and it certainly can be used in a really offensive way.
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Old 12-01-2005, 02:49 PM   #49
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Originally posted by joyfulgirl


It's just...tricky. You really have to know your audience before you makes jokes like that. We've had the discussion in here many times about the expression "that's so gay." I use it with my closest gay friends, and they use it as well. Recently I was with some friends--one gay couple and one straight man--and the straight man was trying on some clothes that the gay couple were going to get rid of. He put on one really tight (and ugly) tank top and I burst out laughing and said, "That is sooo gay" and we all laughed, because as my gay friends understand the expression, it means "bad gay" or "tacky gay." But I would never say something like that when I wasn't sure how it would be taken. I've found that a lot of younger gay men as well as well-meaning friends of gays are more offended by the expression than older ones who've been around and out for a long time. This particular usage in the example I gave is also pretty benign and it certainly can be used in a really offensive way.

ooh! ooh! a friend of mine has a shirt that is hot pink and has a picture of a little girl with pigtails jumping for joy and above her are the words "That's SO Gay!!!"

it's another reason why i use the word "homo" amongst friends. i think it's a funny word, and even fun to say, and utterly silly. it's analgous between N-i-g-g-e-r and N-i-g-g-a, and yes, both those who say it and audience do matter. and it's kind of fun to deflate the power of that word, because when you're in 5th grade and you'd rather either be in the swimming pool or reading Lloyd Alexander instead of playing soccer or football (like me), the worst thing you can be called is "homo." (yeah, so what if they were right?) so it's funny to recast that word in a different context where once it was used to hurt, now it can be used for laughter.

one summer between my sophomore and junior year of college, i spent a summer teaching under-served, high-potential jr. high school kids. at that age, kids use the word "gay" and "stupid" as totally interchangeable. one example: "i don't know if the guy was gay or retarded or what, but he just wasn't very smart," i heard one student say.

i'd made a really fun group of friends that summer, too -- there were 6 of us, 3 guys and 3 girls. we worked long hours, and once we got comfortable enough, we'd say things like, "shut up you gay retarded homosexual idiot!" or, "ugh, that's so stupid and gay that i think you're a homosexual retard."

it was hilarious, in context. and i found it funny, as did one of the females who is now wondering if i'll give her and her wife my seed (see my thread in Zoo Confessionals).

we were also racially diverse, sort of -- all 3 boys were white as the driven snow, and all 3 girls were of mixed ethnicity (vietnamese and white, indian and creole, and black and white and a touch of native american). so, race inevitably raised it's hilarious head -- comments like, "damn, why's it always gotta be racial" and "are you saying that just because i'm white" (when asked to pass, like, the Elmer's Glue or something). it was also a very racially charged, politicized working environment, so it was a great way to cut the tension after work.

but there would be no way i'd ever use any of those words in front of the teaching staff as a whole.
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