Ever been having a nice time with friends or family and someone tells a racist joke? It’s happened to me a few times, and I’ve struggled how to respond adequately in a way that conveys my discomfort but doesn’t cause some kind of scene.
So I was very interested when I saw this headline on The Root, an online source of opinion from various black perspectives: “How to respond to a friend’s racist joke.” I think the article by Jenée Desmond-Harris offers some useful advice, including this:
Take your friend aside before you leave and have a chat. “Something like, ‘I’m still thinking about what you said, and I have to tell you, it really bothered me because … ‘ You can do it without throwing bombs at them,” says Karen Grigsby Bates, co-author of Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times.”
Or take the time to gather your thoughts and find the exact words to communicate what you need to say. The next day, when no one has had one too many glasses of wine, and no one is put on the spot, call or send an email (“Hey, so your joke about Mexicans and robbery really bothered me because the stereotype behind it – that black and brown men are criminals – actually causes real harm to people I care about … “).
Good advice, particularly the part about holding fire and thinking about what you want to say. Unless you think the friend’s jokes have crossed a line and you think it’s a friendship that has run its course.
To read the entire article, click here.