I grew up in an era before political correctness, when racial jokes were a staple of standup comedy. I’m talking jokes by white comics about minorities. It took until the ’70s when black comics like Richard Pryor started turning racial humor on its head, making fun of white people as well as blacks.
These days, there are Asian American standups who tell some hilarious jokes about AAPIs, and our sometimes peculiar cultural values and traditions.
But it’s been a long time since I heard a joke about Asians told by a white person.
So imagine my bemusement when a co-worker whom I’m friendly with (as opposed to a friend with whom I might socialize), came up to me in the office kitchen today.
“I’m sure you heard this, but I’m going to tell it anyway,” he said excitedly, chuckling to himself.
“So this Oriental man goes to the doctor (first wince) to have his eyes looked at (second wince, since I just heard about Miley Cyrus’ ‘chinky-eyed’ photo). The doctor looks at him and says, ‘I have some bad news… you have a cataract.’ ‘I don’t have a cataract,’ the man replies. ‘I have a rincon continentaru.'”
Big wince. And, a laugh. Or two.