- Do these "jokes" imply a superiority over another group? (a significance part of sectarianism & racism)
- What makes a sectarian/racist "joke" funny?
- Does familiarity with these "jokes" (even in the context of friendship & banter) open the door for other people to use these in a more sinister manner?
- And how does this impact on our witness to the God who is inclusive & all-loving?
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Racist jokes... It's only words
Not for the first time some members of my youth group ruffled my feathers last night.
The context was a discussion on reconciliation & peace-making in NI; not just between Protestants & Catholics, but amongst all divisions in society. A couple of young people were adamant that it was ok to make "sectarian" or "Black/racist" jokes with Catholic friends and those different from races as long as they aren't offended.
Various questions were raised such as "does making any joke about Black people make you a racist or is our world too politically correct?" and "why can't I call my Catholics friends a F***ian, if it is made in jest?"
I addressed & challenged our youth to think about these attitudes raising questions such as "do you think Jesus would tell this joke?" and "would Jesus make any comments if He overhead you delivering this joke or laugh along with you?" I urged great caution & prayerful reflection in all these situations.
Interestingly, there were mixed reactions, great passion & heated debate at this point. One youth asked more probing follow up questions, worried that what she had perceived as "ok banter" may have been causing offence or dishonouring God. Another reacted very aggressively claiming that by potentially labelling him as a racist I had committed the worse crime.
By no means I am suggesting that my youth are out-and-out racists, seeking to offend or dominate people from different backgrounds. However, the questions raised in my mind are:
I'd be keen to hear your views. Especially as to whether I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill or raising a common concern.