I’ve been thinking about jokes for a long time now and I’d like to share a couple with you, one recent and a personal one from the ’80s.
These two muslim women came to the door the other day. Instead of answering the door I spoke to them through the letterbox. Now they know how I feel.
There’s this six year old boy in the schoolyard and a load of the other children are throwing rocks at him. Beaten, bloody, humiliated, crying and with a couple of fractures he goes to his teacher for help, but the teacher turns a blind eye to it because it’s the middle of October in 1984, a hotel has just been blown up by the IRA and the child has committed the crime of being Irish. So the kid goes home crying, wanting to be like the terrorists the other kids keep accusing him of being just so he can get revenge. He mentions this feeling to his family and they beat what’s left of the crap out of him for even thinking that.
Hmmm, that second joke isn’t really all that funny is it? Maybe we should add a punchline to it. Let’s see, what could the punchline be? Oh, I know!
Children aren’t born racist. Children don’t even know hate to begin with. Children are taught to hate by their parents and people they trust. Hate is insidious, it instills itself gently in a forming mind without needing to be forced there. The parents that keep telling joke number one (I heard it from a woman in her fifties who really should know better) around their children are the exact same sort who orchestrated joke number two, and they’re failing their own children as well as those who get tortured by them, propagating the hate on both sides. But hey, it’s just a joke isn’t it.