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October 22, 2009

What is your reaction?


It’s funny, right?

Anyone who has ever been saddled with watching kids who really aren’t their responsibility (Catherine, this one’s for you), can appreciate the overwhelming desire just to get rid of the kids, right?

Am I just being a great big sour puss to say that I find this “joke” entirely inappropriate? It just seems to me that we have a few gruesome subjects in our human experience that we ought not joke about: slavery is one. Rape is the other. Can’t we have enough fun with poverty, war, indentured servitude and plain old criminal assault to avoid jokes about slavery?

To make matters worse, this sign is hanging in a school. A local school. A school in which I work.

It is one thing to make an inappropriate joke to a self-selected audience of, say, attendants at a comedy club who knew what kind of comedian they were coming to see, or adults, or even to people who are your clients and have the choice to instead patronize other businesses if they don’t like the way you conduct yours. But to display this in a school, directed at children, just seems unconscionable. Those kids don’t have the choice to avoid this room, service, or the adult who put it up. Even though this particular school may be the whitest one on earth (because modern white Americans might like to pretend that they are worlds removed from socially acceptable slavery [which would make them delusional]), it just isn’t right.

It pains me to write this post, because I really do have a very good sense of humor, and laugh at all sorts of problematic content. More importantly, I would really love to joke about people not taking care of the kids for whom they are responsible, because it would be nice to be able to shame those people into doing their jobs without actually giving them my patented stink eye. But I just can’t get behind this cartoon.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    October 23, 2009 12:14 am

    You clearly do not frequent diners where that sign hangs across American in abundance. I prefer the sign “Unattended children will be given an expresso and a puppy.” That’s a much more realistic threat. 🙂

  2. esodhiambo permalink*
    October 23, 2009 7:32 am

    You got me–looks like I am missing out on a lot

    Still, hanging such in a privately owned establishment is a far cry from the public school system, don’t you think?

  3. Rosalynde permalink
    October 23, 2009 11:37 pm

    Wow, yeah, inappropriate and offensive.

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