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May 8, 2017 | by  | in One Ocean |
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One Ocean

Your jokes are dry.

I keep watching Saturday Night Live‘s skit about people finally realising Beyoncé is black. It’s funny, well-written, and it parodies so many NOT FUNNY jokes that get made about people of colour.

One time I was at a meeting where I was seated at a table with mostly Pasifika students. As we were waiting for lunch, one of the hosts came over to say hi. Before she moved to the next table, she said, very *nicely*, “Don’t worry, we’ll serve you guys first. Cause you’re the hungry ones!” Then she laughed, we politely laughed back, and when she left we stopped laughing because those words were completely devoid of humor… and humanity.

Another time, I drank too much caffeine (“Take control of my own life or blame assignments?… Blame assignments wins hands down!”*). I went to the doctor because I had the meanest headache and before I left, they took my blood pressure. When they saw that it was pretty normal, the nurse was like, “Oh, wow! That’s great! That’s…!” She was stunned for at least five minutes. She then laughed, and I laughed too, because I thought she was joking… then I realised she wanted me to be happy that I didn’t fit the stereotype of “all Pasifika people have lifestyle diseases.” What’s not great about this situation is not just the fact that I wanted to disappear. It’s also, and more importantly, the fact that some people, of any given race and/or ethnicity, are actually sick, and this is a joke somehow…?

I don’t know if I’m good with jokes. I never really try to make any. But I do know that some “jokes,” especially when they derive their chuckles from other people’s pain, are just not funny. Everyone has a sense of humor, sure, but everyone also has feelings. If you’re not going to joke with that in mind, then someone’s gotta tell you, bro, your jokes are (soooooo!) dry.

 

*Meet the Robinsons joke which makes no one cry in order to be funny.

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