- Alex Mooradian
- Charlton, MA
- United States
Racism embedded in the humor of the normative culture, which often speaks of the race or ethnicity in question with diminutive undertones.
Ownership is rudimentary to decision-making: if you own a car, you choose when to drive it; if you own a shirt, you picked out the size and color, etc. As humans, we assume that we own our identities; we own the right to construct our personalities and the public perception of ourselves based upon our actions. The social construct of race, however, devastates this ideological dream. Ethnic minorities (and ethnic majorities) face assumptions that are predetermined by their phenotypic appearance. The paradoxical phenomenon that we can purchase vehicles and homes but not have ownership over our own bodies is not a previously undiscovered notion. I argue, however, that racial discrimination has pervaded the social media and virtual world in ways that are pathologically damaging but shrouded under the guise of humor.
Many would be quick to argue that the humor is product of positive intentions. Folks may argue that they are "beyond racism" in utilizing racial history as the underbelly of their joke. I question, however, who owns the humor? Is it the right of all individuals to own the humor of every other ethnic group, even without suffering a negative collective history?
In a post-racial world, anyone could joke about any ethnic or racial stereotype without any offense given or taken. Theoretically, the use of humor could alleviate the tensions between cultures and numb the bitter history of our social constructions bolstered by the fears of globalization.
Problem: our world is not post-racial. Consider segregation, discrimination against Latinos in Arizona, U.S. policies that effectively and purposefully strand working-class immigrants in their homelands, the illegal detention of Muslim-Americans following Hurricane Katrina.
When someone says #whitegirlproblems on the internet to imply that mental challenges are exclusive to certain races or genders, I suggest we question their right to use a humor that offends humanity and diminishes the past.