Retired General James Jones, who is a senior national security advisor to the Obama administration, told a joke at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, regarding a Jew in the desert of Afghanistan who outwitted a member of the Taliban. The joke plays upon stereotypes of Jews being sharp in business.
I had received that joke via e-mail from someone a few weeks ago, and like so many e-mailed jokes, put it in the electronic trash bin. While I can’t remember who sent it, it clearly was not sent to me intended as an insult, but rather, some light-hearted humor.
I have no problem with the joke. I think we have to be able to laugh at ourselves, including laughing at stereotypes; in humor we often expose the stereotype rather than build upon it.
That said, this is another one of those “can you imagine” moments. Substitute blacks or latinos or gays or almost any other group for Jews, and the joke playing on old stereotypes never would have been told by Jones. And if it were, Jones already would be gone from the administration.
The predictable response will be condemnation, but I think a little introspection more is in order.
Why have we reached the point that good-natured, non-malicious joking around is a career killer? Why can’t we laugh at ourselves anymore?
And without further ado, the video (via Breitbart via Drudge):
By the way, did you hear the one about the Priest, Minister and Rabbi who ….
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