Overcoming Racial Division with Humor: Why are burdensome gifts referred to as white elephants?
By Leland Sapp
I was recently invited by three black women to attend a “white elephant” gift-exchange luncheon. “Why does the elephant always have to be WHITE?” I responded. After the laughter ended, I added,“Until we can all sincerely laugh at and appreciate jokes like this, racism will still be alive in America”.
I have always found humor to be an effective tool for addressing
controversial or potentially divisive issues. It's easy to compare the state of things as depicted in movies like Django Unchained to the present think that we've resolved race problems, but we haven't.
Most people still perceive issues
through the lens of their skin color.The conversations that I hear at work about a person's opinion of President Obama, the Trevon Martin
case, or politics in general confirm this.
We're no longer physically enslaving entire groups of people, but many of us are enslaved by the
opinions of our race. Until we learn to empathize emotionally and
logically with other groups and make an informed decision
ourselves, racism will continue.
I'll keep using humor to lighten the mood.