I saw the above image and laughed my rear end off. I have to admit my humor can be very silly at times. I mean my favorite joke goes something like this:
Two muffins were sitting in an oven.
One turned to the other and said “Hey, it’s pretty hot in here, isn’t it?”
The other turned and shouted “Oh my god a talking muffin!”
Hopefully, this can help you understand some of the things I find humorous. Ok back to the MAO joke. This meme made me laugh so hard that I was sending it to all my friends. It’s the type of meme that should be enjoyed by others. It’s the type of meme that brings a smile on a day without coffee. It’s the type of meme that makes me wonder how this was discovered or created. Did someone see his name and go, “Wow that his first name is one letter away from laughing his behind away?”
I am going to break down my thought process because this frame of reference will become important in a minute. I saw the name MAO and saw that Chairman Mao wasn’t smiling. I then saw him in the next frame laughing and the letters LMAO. That made me laugh because of the dichotomy of the straight face and laughing face followed by the addition of the L. People that is comedic gold right there!! It really doesn’t get much funnier than the meme in my book.
I had very little idea of the background of Chairman Moa. I knew who he was and that he was a former leader of the communist government in China. None of that mattered to me when I saw the meme. All I saw was humor that seemed harmless. I didn’t go through a checklist of who may not find it funny or why. I just thought it was hilarious.
One of my friends tweeted me back and said is this racist? I quickly had a panic attack. Had I liked and RT an image that was culturally insensitive or racist? That wasn’t my intent! Nobody would care what my intent is. We judge by actions. Had my actions been racist or harmful in some way?
What is interesting about the whole situation is where my blinders were. I just saw a funny meme and didn’t look at it through a cultural lens at all. This didn’t even occur to me that I should be looking at everything through a cultural lens that I post publicly. I have that ability not to because I am white. Not everyone has that same ability. This was a good reminder to make sure I am aware of the entire truth of what I am disseminating.
My friend and I spoke and we agreed that it was a harmless joke that was indeed funny. The conversation was not heated or negative in any way. This reminds me again how important it is to have friends that see the world from a variety of angles. They are the light that shines on your dark spots. Your blinders that get in the way of seeing a more global and humanistic view.
My goal is to continually work to becoming enlightened. This can not happen when the people we interact with the most are all cut from the same cloth. If your area of the world is homogenous use the beauty of social media to connect with others. Interact with them on a personal level. have conversations outside of education, race, or religion. Find out how their lives are going, what they are reading, what their kids are up to. Once these relationships have been forged cultural awareness will happen authentically. This image is the perfect example of that occurring. Look at your #PLN and personal life. Ask yourself what does it look like and why.