Joke – California

Racial Joke – Driver of Car

A Black and a Mexican are in a car.  Who’s driving?

Answer: The police.

My best friend from high school, Stephan Brown, told me this very racial joke.  He grew up in Escondido, California, before moving to Hermosa Beach during his sophomore year in high school.  We both entered Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach as sophomores.  Despite all this moving around, Stephan was relatively confident that he learned this joke while he was in grade school down in Escondido.  A small town near San Diego, Escondido is, according to Stephan, marked by an overwhelmingly large Mexican immigrant population.  One can speculate that racial tension developed between the Mexican population in the city and the Caucasians, who may have felt that they were being engulfed by the immigrants.  It is possible that this tension gave rise to racially inspired jokes such as this one among the white community.  With his predominantly Caucasian roots, it is likely that Stephan learned this joke because of his inclusion in the white community.  It is unlikely that Mexicans or individuals of African descent will find this joke funny.

While this joke is dreadfully racial, it touches upon the fact that a large percentage of the individuals who are picked up by the police are of Mexican or African descent.  This is in itself not necessarily a malicious statement; it is only a statement of fact.  This joke merely emphasizes this fact.  By calling attention to this fact, it forces the reader to stop and think why this is so.

Several possible answers to this question exist.  The first possibility revolves around the fact that African Americans and Mexicans are generally, for whatever reason, of the lower socioeconomic classes. Studies have shown that individuals born into poverty are much more likely to commit crimes.  Simply because of their circumstances, individuals coming from these racial classes are more likely to commit crimes.  For this reason they commit more crimes, and are subsequently arrested more frequently.

However, this is not the only possibility.  Each policeman is simply an individual, with his own set of personal biases and prejudices.  These are inevitable and cannot be avoided.  The problems arise when these personal prejudices interfere with the completion of their duties.  Racially-motivated police violence and retaliation is always growing concern for cities, as they are faced with increasingly racially-charged environments as cites become more and more racially diverse.  Countless riots have broken out on account of what is perceived to police injustice.  Thus another theory behind this joke takes into account police prejudice, and cites the personal prejudices of the mostly white policemen against African Americans and Mexicans in order to explain why individuals of these races are more frequently arrested.

As with all racial jokes, one must be careful of the audience present when telling this joke.  Many will not find the joke funny at all, while it may draw a warm reception from others.  However, unlike some jokes which simply ridicule a race, this clever joke at least forces the listener to consider the concepts of racially divided socioeconomic classes and the possibility of police injustice motivated by racial prejudices.