Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Breaking in

We have a new guy in our office who's been temporarily assigned to us from India. He will be with us for the next four months. He's Maharashtrian and coincidentally, from Pune. My American colleague G is in charge of supervising the new guy. G wandered into my cubicle yesterday.

gawker : What's up G? How's the new guy doing?

G : Habeeb is in training class.

gawker : Habeeb?

(The new guy isn't Muslim and his name isn't Habeeb.)

gawker : Listen G, don't try your "all brown people are terrorists" jokes on the new guy just yet, okay?

G : What brown terrorist jokes?

gawker : You remember, when I didn't shave for a month and when I finally did, you asked me if I had graduated from terror camp?

G : Oh, that.

gawker : And when we were in the Indian restaurant, you complained they weren't playing your favorite song, and when asked which one, you put your palm on your mouth and yelled "ulululululululu"?

G : So when can I start making terrorist jokes?

gawker : I will break him in gradually. Start him off on some mild Mahashtrian mother-sister stuff. Gauge his reaction. I will let you know if and when he is ready for your overtly racist material.

G : Alright then, you do that. And don't cross any borders illegally in the meantime.

gawker : Oh, and no "Mexicans, Indians, what's the difference" jokes either.

G : You're running a pretty tight ship, Osama.

gawker : Just trying to keep the office safe from suicide bombings.


ggop said...

Love the exchange Gawker!

Unknown said...

Is this for real? Coz I find this exchange kinda unfunny (of course, without knowing the personal equation between you guys) Even if this guy is joking, it is not in very good taste.

gawker said...

ggop : Thanks hehe

Vishal : Yeah... That's just one of the snippets from our daily conversations. Actually, this guy is one of the funniest people I know, mostly because with him, it is a no-holds barred type of humor. As to our exchange, it's a complex interaction between us. The key is that when this guy makes overtly racist jokes, he is actually poking fun at his (and other Americans') racism by drawing on the stereotyped nature of racist jokes (eg : the ululating)

Also, to be honest, I make cracker / redneck jokes all the time so it kinda evens everything out. I guess since both of us refuse to take offense at anything the other says, we feel okay with tearing each other's race and pretty much everything else apart with impunity.

Unknown said...

Hi gawker,
Thanks for the clarification. I am pretty thick skinned when it comes these matters myself, but I was a little surprised to see someone being so nonchalantly racist (without being aware of the context)

zambezi said...

i do it all the time at work. we are all equals.

Sushma said...

I miss having such conversations with my ex-boss. She got fired one of them brown people overheard an "unfunny" conversation and got offended.

gawker said...

Vishal : Nah he's pretty aware. His awareness and deliberately racist humor is what makes it so damn funny.

zambezi : Yes, you are good looking.

Sushma : I guess in a big company you have stricter rules.

Pratik Stephen said...


Gawker, this would be ideal for my WITnessed series on my blog!

If you don't mind, I'm going to put this up as a guest post on my WITnessed series.
If you do mind, I'll just change the names and claim I was having this convo with my racist american friend.
lol... (i kid.)

Should probably include your explanantion to Vishal as well.

amreekandesi said... stuff! As long as it is not done in the wrong spirit. I daresay such jokes can turn ugly in a second.