It's a sad day in America when a Hollywood producer has to be the one to point out how politically correct we've become, and how it has shriveled us.
Clint Eastwood made a very good point and it illustrates something I've always though but been afraid to say.
We are a nation of different ethnicities and all of those ethnic groups have idiosyncrasies and most of them are funny.
Perhaps part of the reason we can't close the racial divide in this country is because we can't joke about it.
Personally, that is the best way that I know of to diffuse a tense situation.
I have had many black friends and we laughed hardest when we were telling racial or ethnic jokes.
I have had not as many Hispanic friends as I would like but the issue of race was always something to laugh about, not tiptoe around.
I have had even fewer Asian friends, but about the only one that sticks in my mind was a guy I worked with at Cracker Barrel. On a busy night, I was stuck behind him in a narrow aisle.
"Chop chop." I said.
"Oh, oh," he turned, "Because I'm Asian, you say 'Chop chop."
Another time, coming up behind him I mistook him for another Asian that worked there and called him by the wrong name. He turned with a wry face, "Yeah, we all look alike, right?"
Once I was working with two black guys, Toby and Jonathan. As it happened, I was the one doing what might have been considered the easier of the three jobs. I was scanning boxes while they unloaded them.
At once, they stopped and looked at each other and said, "What's up with this? The two black guys here are doing the manual labor and the cracker is back there with his little tiny scanner."
I chuckled and said, "Get back to work." Then, in a fit of mischief, I added, "Boy."
I confess I even cringed a little when I said it but it got the desired result. Howls.
I used to have a bad habit of calling people "cotton picker" in mock anger. More than once, I inadvertently applied the label to black men. And I'm still alive.
Once shortly before Martin Luther King Day, I ran into one my sups who was black.
"I guess you and Greg (another black sup) will be taking Monday off." I prodded.
"I will," replied Donny, a former second stringer for the Miami Dolphins, "Greg just gets a half day."
Greg's skin is considerably lighter than Donny's.
My black friends like to kid us about being pigment challenged and uptight.
They're right, we are. And it's funny.
I like to think that the few friends I have that are members of a different race than I am know that I like them for who they are and their stereotypical trappings only make me like them more because we can laugh about them.
One of the funniest jokes I've ever heard actually has a Democratic source.
What do you call a black man at a Republican banquet.
The key-note speaker.
I didn't have a whole lot to say on the issue, I just thought I would take perhaps the only opportunity I'll ever have to praise a Hollywood icon.
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