Day 48 – You wanna hear a joke?

14 Aug

The other day Seldon had a friend over. I had to go pick him up and bring him home because his mother was at work. So, in the car we chatted. I asked if he was looking forward to school starting and to my pleasant surprise, he said that he was. However, he was concerned.

“I hope my new teacher likes my jokes,” he said.

“You like to tell jokes, do you?”

“Yeah, wanna hear one?” he asked.

“You don’t tell them during silent reading time, or when the teacher’s talking to the class, do you?” I was trying to figure out why this was such a concern.

“No, I don’t do that. I read during silent reading,” was his response.

“Well then, I don’t see why a teacher should mind if you tell a joke.”

“You wanna hear one?” he asked again as we were rounding the corner to his street.

If you don’t spend much time with adolescent boys, you don’t understand why this is a difficult question to answer. “Yeah, sure,” I replied, even though I didn’t really want to hear it.

“A black guy and a Mexican are in a car together…” Now I understand why his teachers might not like his jokes. “Who’s driving?

I let out a sigh. “I don’t know, who?” I asked, even though I was pretty sure I didn’t want to hear the answer.

“The police,” he said as he was getting out of the car.

Ugh! I wish he had told the joke when we first got in the car. Then he would still have been in the car to hear what I had to say to Seldon. I’m glad Seldon understood why I didn’t like the joke without me really having to tell him.

“Mom doesn’t think much of that joke; do you know why?” I asked him.

“Yeah, cause it’s racism?” It was more of a question than a response.

“Yes, it’s a racist joke; do you know why it’s racist?” I inquired further.

“Because it’s about a black guy and a Mexican?” he asked, a little less sure of this answer.

“Well, no, not really. But, when a joke starts out that way you can almost bet it is going to perpetuate racial stereotypes.” I had to go on to explain what I meant by that. But, he agreed that it wasn’t cool. I’m glad to have these kind of teaching opportunities with my own children, and as a teacher. And, be forewarned, if your children play at my house, they’re going to hear it too.


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