Archived: Whites Lack Experience as Objects of Racist Jokes

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


Question:

Why is it that when white people tell a minority joke, they all think it’s really funny, but when a minority tells a white joke right after they finished their minority joke, they don’t think it is funny … it seem to me that [they] can’t take it. Is that true

Answer:

I think most people “can’t take it,” which is why racial jokes are cruel.

White people in the United States have very little experience being the object of a racial joke. When you combine that with the common white misperception that we’re “normal,” hearing a white joke is very disorienting for the average white person.

By the way, I am disappointed that I am in the distinct minority of people by not being amused by “Borat.”

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