No, that wasn’t funny, that was racist.

I received a FWD in my inbox today, I don’t often get forwards as I have my spam filters set to block them but somehow this one got through. It was titled “Funnies” and it was peppered with racist, anti-islamic and anti-immigrant humour, it wasn’t at all funny.

It was sent to me by someone who would never consider themselves racist, who would be horrified by such a charge and yet this is precisely how racism grows and is spread, we don’t think, and by not thinking we perpetuate stereotypes and feed racism . Here is a link to an excellent article on stereotyping and why we sometimes laugh at racist jokes and I have posted my response to the forwarded email below.

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“The Red Cross just knocked on my door and asked if we could contribute towards the floods in Pakistan. I said we’d love to, but our garden hose only reaches to the driveway”

I was devastated to find out my wife was having an affair but, by turning to religion, I was soon able to come to terms with the whole the thing.

I converted to Islam, and we’re stoning her in the morning!

Question – Are there too many immigrants in Britain ?
17% said yes;
11% said No;
72% said “I am not understanding the question please.”

“There’s a new Muslim clothing shop that opened in our shopping center, but  they threw me out after I asked if I could look at some of the bomber jackets.”—

Dear….,

This one in particular hurts, insert any of our Caribbean countries or people instead of Pakistan, it’s the same thing. I know you didn’t think too hard about these “jokes” but I was deeply upset when I saw them. Dehumanising people who are not like us through popular “jokes” are the actions that make it easy to act in racist ways, these types of actions, when directed at black people- President Obama as a witch doctor or as a dreadlocked, weed smoking drug dealer- offend us greatly and with justification, we cannot stand by and do the same thing to Indians and Muslims.

When I visited England to stay with my ex’s parents this was precisely the kind of thing his family found funny and I was told racist things like this on more than one occasion. Regarding immigrants in England I was told “this is a white country you know” all this said while I held my little brown half-English baby in my arms.

We cringe (or at least I cringe) when I hear of Iraqi civillians dead from the war, mothers, children, sisters, brothers, babies I cringe because I see my own family in their faces, they are human, with human wants, human needs and human loves, when we help spread the belief that Muslims and Pakistanis are not human, that they “sell bomber jackets” implying that they are all terrorists, or that the way to “help” flood victims in Pakistan would be to add water presumably so more Pakistanis can die we reduce their humanity and make it easier to accept the atrocities committed against them.

These are the same tactics used against black people in the early twentieth Century and still in play today, all the mockery, the coonery, the “humour” about black pickanninies stealing chicken and eating watermelon, the blackface, the “jokes” about black people living on welfare, or having multiple babies by multiple fathers, about our women being overly sexual-a charge often still leveled at young black victims of sexual assault in the media and in popular culture- all of that desensitised a nation so that when pregnant Mary Turner was strung from a tree by her ankles, burned and disemboweled and her foetus stomped on no one was prosecuted, no one was charged, few people even remember and even fewer care.

“Snow White and de Sebben Dwarves” featuring the over sexualisation of black women and the Mammy caricature, it also portrays us as stupid, uneducated and more interested in money, sex and bling than in self improvement…sound familiar?

I took the time to write all this because I love you, because this hurts, because I can see some unthinking person saying these things about my brown, vaguely Arab/Muslim-looking child and mostly because it matters that we brown people not fall into the traps set for us by white supremacist culture.

Here are some “jokes” about us from around the web, I don’t find them funny and essentially they are the same thing.
BLACK:
1.Q:why are black peoples nostrils so big?
A:because thats what GOD held them by when he was painting them.
2.Q:what do you get when you search for the word baboon from the dictionary?
A:a picture of Robert Mugabe.
3.Q: What is black, purple,and yellow?
A: A black person goin to church.

4.Q: What do you call a black guy who goes to college?
A: A Basketball player.

5.Q: What does it mean when you see a bunch of blacks running in one direction?
A: Jail break

6.Q: Why do black men have bigger manlinesses than white men?
A: Because as kids white men had toys to play with

7.Q: What does FUBU really stand for?
A: Farmers used to buy us.

8.Q: Did you hear about the black who died yesterday on Rt. 80?
A: He stuck his head out of the window at 100 mph and his lips beat him to death!

9.Q: What do you call 400 black people swiming in a river?
A: An oil spill

http://www.authentichistory.com/diversity/african/3-coon/5-chickwatermelon/index.html  A really good link about racism in popular culture. I’ve also attached some images that were considered both amusing and appropriate when they were released.
love…
____________________________
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Chic and Fabulous

Top ten fashion mavens including the luscious Edward Enninful, W’s new fashion editor.

Edward Enninful

Enninful speaks candidly here about the whitewashed fashion industry and blasts the folk who make excuses for not including darker-skinned models. Nothing but love, baby, nothing but love.

Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno and Penn State’s willful sacrifice of underprivileged boys

I have had a difficult time putting together this post this morning, I first had to corral my rage then manage my disgust before I could write coherently on the subject of Jerry Sandusky and the atrocious old boys network that fed so many underprivileged young boys to a sexual predator’s hunger.

I am not a mental health professional but I feel comfortable saying that Sandusky is not within the normal range of behaviour and needs mental help and I want him to go to jail where he can get all the psychiatric treatment he needs for a very long time. I pity Sandusky and he does not  elicit my rage nearly as much as the men in positions of power who knew about the repeated rape and sexual molestation of young boys and did nothing to stop it. Those men are the criminals, there was no evident mental health issue forcing them not to report the crimes that Sandusky was committing and yet they willingly sacrificed vulnerable young boys, chose to protect a rapist and child molester instead of reporting him to the police. They sicken me.

On March 1 2002 a graduate assistant entered the lockers and saw Sandusky engaing in “inappropriate sexual behaviour” with a child he estimated to be about ten years old.

As the graduate assistant entered the locker room doors, he was surprised to find the lights and the showers on. He then heard rhythmic, slapping sounds. He believed the sounds to be those of sexual activity. As the graduate assistant put his sneakers in his locker, he looked in the shower. He saw a naked boy … whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant was shocked but noticed that both [the victim] and Sandusky saw him. The graduate assistant left immediately, distraught.

He reported the incident to his father, then to Joe Paterno, Penn State’s revered football coach and Sandusky’s boss. Paterno in turn reported the incident to Tim Curley, Penn State’s Athletic Director and a few weeks later—yes WEEKS— the graduate assistant was called to make his report to Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz. The result, the graduate assistant was informed, weeks after his meeting, that Sandusky’s keys to the locker room had been confiscated and that he had been “prohibited from bringing youth on to the Penn State campus from that point on”

Is your skin crawling? Because mine is just about ready to walk off my body.

Tim Curley and Gary Schultz were called to testify in January about what they knew and when they knew it but were found to have lied to the Grand Jury investigating Sandusky, denying that they were informed of the incident involving Sandusky and the rape of a 10 year old boy in the locker room. Curley and Schultz have since been charged.

In 1998 while Sandusky was employed at Penn State another allegation surfaced and was reported to the Campus police, a lengthy report was made but nothing came of it in the end.

Schultz knew of the allegation but according to the Grand Jury report expressed surprise that a lengthy official report had come of it, after all he didn’t even ask the graduate assistant for further details or make a report to the police when Sandusky was seen naked in the showers sodomizing a child.

Former Penn State Coach, Joe Paterno

I heard on the news this morning that Penn State students are rioting in the streets. YAY! Go Penn State, champions of justice for abused children… wait what? You are rioting because Joe Paterno got fired, Joe Paterno, the man who knew about the abuse of little boys and did nothing?  I don’t even have words for how disgusted I am right now. No words.

Paused for a minute…

I have found the words.

How vile is it that privileged college students can take to the streets in righteous indignation not to protect vulnerable children but to protect the old rich men who take advantage of them, who rape them and molest them, rich old men who did nothing to stop the repeated abuse, who expressed surprise that such allegations would warrant lengthy police reports. Isn’t college supposed to teach us ethics and morals, aren’t we supposed to learn about compassion?  We tell our children to act swiftly if they see something wrong and that not acting is as bad as participating in the crime they have witnessed, but the actions of the Penn State rioters say different. Their behaviour says that this model is only applicable when the accused isn’t someone who holds a place of honour in any other arena—mainly sports– or when the victim isn’t someone we care about or think is “worthy”

What would it take for the Penn State students to be outraged on behalf of the victims? Would the victim have to be female? blonde? white? under the age of five? What exactly would make the students at Penn State do the right thing? I don’t know the answer and that makes me sad.