Friday, February 27, 2009

"It's true, it's true--we're so lame..."

So I just came across this story about a mayor in California who sent an email of a picture of the White House with a bunch of watermelons on the front lawn. The caption reads, "No Easter egg hunt this year." I wish I knew how to spell that wonh wonhhh sound they play in shows and on the radio when someone does something stupid, because I think it's pretty appropriate.

For me the funniest part of the article is when the mayor says that he was unaware of the stereotype that black people like watermelons. Well, if he's unaware of the stereotype, why in the heck is he forwarding the e-mail? I need a comedy person to explain to me what level of humor that picture is working on, if not on the stereotype about black people liking watermelons.

As a side note: when I first read the headline, I thought it said the Mayor of Los Angeles and I thought to myself, "Uh oh--bye bye job, Mayor of Los Angeles." But when I reread and saw it was some small town I'd never heard of, two things happened. 1) I immediately thought that the guy would no longer lose his job over it, and 2) I thought, "Oh, that makes more sense." What's up with that?

My thinking on number one is that the more power and influence a person has, the more they're going to be expected to not say things that others might consider offensive. But why? It doesn't matter how much power and influence you have, the things you say and do can hurt other people's feelings. And on the second point: that's my bias that people from small towns are more likely to do racially insensitive things. Is that accurate? Is it fair? Why or why not?

For the record, I'm black and I do like watermelon. And my mom is black too, and she really likes watermelon, she might even consider it her favorite fruit. I'm not really sure how that is funny, noteworthy, or relevant to much of anything.

This article got me thinking how many scores of e-mails there must be out there like this now that Barack Obama is president. I haven't gotten any--have you? If so, how did you respond?

As always, I welcome your comments.

1 comment:

  1. I have never understood the watermelon thing either. I love watermelon and I am white. I think it may be similiar to the pig's feet, in that, watermelons were very abundant and not valued in the south, so that is what was given to the slaves to eat. In any case, great blog!