you can’t make that joke.

You may be wondering what does Amy Schumer and Steve Harvey have in common. It’s simple they think they are funny when really they are just being flat out racist. And you may think that I am being overly sensitive or trying to perpetuate political correctness, but this is my narrative not yours.

Amy Schumer, a woman comedian who is praised for her blunt and crass humor, doesn’t seem to understand why people won’t laugh at her joke about her friend Kim. I mean she’s just saying all Asians look alike which is incredibly funny and original, isn’t it? It is sort of “incest-y” but incest can be funny. It was funny when Koreans during WWII had to literally wear badges in order to be identified as Korean so that they wouldn’t be sent to Japanese internment camps in America. Or maybe it’s funny when people say that for some reason it’s impossible to tell Asians apart and that all Asians are the same and interchangeable, despite the hundreds of years of historical differences and yet I’m expected to know that you’re 1/4 French, 1/8 Dutch, etc, etc.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Schumer has made numerous jokes in regards to the Latinx community, ranging from “Latina women are crazy” to“I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual.”And these are just funny harmless jokes that people laugh at. ( If you can’t tell that I’m being sarcastic, here’s the reminder that I am, just in case you couldn’t tell. )

Steve Harvey, the butt of many jokes, mostly regarding his mistake in crowning Miss Universe, has been the subject of internet outrage after his comment on Asian Men earlier this year. To put it simply, he made a joke that basically perpetuated the stereotype that Asian men aren’t attractive and can’t get girls. A joke that personally hurts many Asian men because it continues the emasculated Asian male with a small penis stereotype.

Later, Harvey  apologized, but when he was visiting Trump Tower, he stated he couldn’t understand the reason for the backlash against him. And Amy Schumer defended herself by saying  “Playing with race is a thing we are not supposed to do, which is what makes it so fun for comics. You can call it a ‘blind spot for racism’ or ‘lazy’ but you are wrong. It is a joke and it is funny. I know because people laugh at it.”

I shall put it simply in the odd chance that they somehow stumble onto this blog: you can’t make that joke. In regards to the Asian jokes, you both aren’t Asian, so you don’t have the right to say those jokes. Constance Wu can, Ken Jeong can, because they are Asian but you as a white woman or black man cannot. It’s not that difficult to understand. I’m not even talking about the social implications of perpetuating stereotype and how racial humor allows White America to say that racism does not exist or race doesn’t matter and that they can make jokes that Black men are all criminals.

It is not your narrative to make fun of, it never had been and it never will be. I would never and never have made a joke about Latinx people because I’m not Latina. But I have made jokes about being a bad driver because I am an Asian woman. When Trevor Noah makes a joke about being from South Africa or how he really wanted to be Black when he came to America, he’s allowed to make that joke, because guess what, he’s black. And it’s not just race, a man can’t make a joke about a woman nor can a heterosexual make a joke on the expense of the LGBTQ community.

I’m just saying that they don’t have the right to make those jokes because they don’t belong in those groups that are affected by those jokes and they are saying these jokes at a position of privilege. The only exception  (in my humble opinion) is when marginalized people make fun of those in a position of privilege. And yes this sounds like a double standard, and it is because they are in position of power and privilege that I as a person of color does not have. It can be made true of when a woman makes a joke about a man, because again, men have more power than women in this world.

My friend Marina put it simply, “A boss cannot make a joke about the employees but the employees can make a joke about the boss. Punching down makes you look like an asshole but punching up, well, that’s just survival. ” So yes, it is a double standard, but you also stand at a position of privilege that I can never stand on. I can make that kind of joke because white people jokes aren’t as offensive as people of color jokes. When I joke that British people confuse me because they conquered the world looking for spices and yet their food is still bland and tasteless,it is not equivalent to a joke saying that Koreans eat dog. Yes, I am not white but give me at least this much. I mean, it is a known fact that white people have more power and privilege in this world. Just be made fun of and don’t make fun of us.

Let marginalized people have a chance to make fun of those in power and make them feel like the other for once because quite frankly, these groups had the short end of the stick for  many years. And they don’t need you to make jokes that weren’t jokes to begin with.



2 thoughts on “you can’t make that joke.

  1. ktwritings says:

    Great post! ❤
    I agree with you on the part that you're only allowed to make the 'harmless funny jokes' if you belong to that respective community. It's like how you can fight with your siblings and call them names all day long but that doesn't mean everybody else unrelated can do the same. 😛


  2. cegutierrezblog says:

    Really interesting post. I love how well your posts flow and how much your unique voice comes through! I was shocked to see Amy Schumer’s and Steve Harvey’s responses to their highly ignorant and insensitive jokes. I found it really disturbing that they were unable to see the harm in their actions. Like you stated, just because people laugh, doesn’t make it funny. I hope that people are more able and wiling to recognize the impact of their actions and aren’t so quick to spew out a joke at other people’s expense.


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