Volume 17:4, Fall 2016
Okay, tell me if you know this one: 2 White guys, a Woman and a Black or Mexican guy walk into a reality competition show.
They each come out with their triumphant stories of being chefs and the First White Guy talks about his fiancé and how he works so hard and how he never has time to see her and how the big cash prize will help him get her a better ring and, and then the woman comes out and talks about something, probably her kids, then the Black or Mexican Guy tells his hard luck story about coming to this country with nothing or not knowing his father or not getting to see his kid or all three, and then the Other White Guy comes out and he was taught to cook by his father who’s dead now, so there’s nothing more important in all of life than him winning ten thousand dollars.
Then they cook something. And the judges talk about how the Woman made something really homey, and how the Black or Mexican Guy’s flavors are bold (but maybe too bold), and how the First White Guy is so refined that they didn’t even notice the overcooked chicken and how the Other White Guy just needs one more round to actually follow the rules of the show, and then they bring out the cloche, lift the silver dome and say, “We’re sorry, Chef The Woman, but you are a woman.” so they cut her and she walks off and probably cries or something, and at the end of the next round, the cloche comes back up and the Host says, you ready? Get this…
“We’re sorry, Chef The Black or Mexican Guy, but we already got rid of the Woman last round.”
And maybe nobody laughs, but everybody gets it.
2 White dudes walk into my living room. One says, “You know this is just TV, right? Real life doesn’t work that way.”, to which I respond, “Yeah, in real life, most folks don’t get 10 grand for following some White guy’s rules.
But I’m not great a punchlines.
How about this one: 78 White women and Halle Berry walk into the Best Actress Oscar.
Some White woman looks at Halle and says,
“Shit. The critics are right; Meryl Streep can play anyone.”
The two White dudes in my living room say, “Ya know, maybe there just weren’t any good movies with Black people in them this year.”, to which I respond, “You’re right. If only a director of color would made a biopic about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Clearly that shit would sweep.”
Here’s one more:
Q: What’s the difference between a doctor’s office and an episode of Modern Family?
A: One’s the last place on Earth you’d ever find a Black man,
and the other one’s a doctor’s office.
The White dude in my living room tell me, “But that’s entertainment. It’s supposed to be an escape.” I ask them where you’re supposed to go to escape depictions of rich, White folk.
They don’t laugh when I tell them the one about the Black boy and the cop, or the one about the Black woman and the cop, or the other one about the Black boy and the cop, or the one about the sleeping Black girl and the cop or the one about the Black boy and the cop, or the one about the Balck boy and the cop, or the one about the Black boy and the cop, or the one about the Black boy and the cop. Maybe they haven’t heard this one:
Three White guys walk into a joke. Even if there’s nothing funny, we’re always entertained.
Chris August is a teacher and writer based out of Baltimore. He travels the world performing his work and has authored the collection Loving Instruments (Sargent Press, 2013). His poetry has been featured in Hyperlexia and the anthology From Page to Stage and Back Again. He has represented Baltimore, Washington, DC and Philadelphia at the National Poetry Slam and the Individual World Poetry slam, which he was lucky enough to win in 2011, after which he represented the United States at the Poetry World Cup in Paris, France.