So last week as you all know I was in Washington D.C. on a business trip. As much as I loath to travel, for business, I do love the opportunity I get when it comes to trying new kinds of food. The team I work with is rather diverse and as such while we were talking about going to lunch one day someone suggested we try an Ethiopian place. To which I responded:
Ethiopians have food? Shouldn't we give it back?
To which I received the expected hiss of disapproval. That's right...yet another moment in which I become the awkward individual. How course I tried to back peddle with:
I figured Ethiopians were like Canadians and didn't really have a cultural cuisine.
But of course I am not meant to be absolved of my auditory indiscretions. You know what though...screw those hissers and those head shakers. That was some quality comic material. We can laugh out loud at Starvin' Marvin on South Park, but a little one liner is frowned upon because if makes a bit of a joke about the famine in Ethiopia?
It's not like I was trying ridicule Ethiopians in any significant way. I don't think they're lesser as a people because they're suffering from or have suffered from a famine. I make fun of my own Irish/German heritage quite frequently.
I guess I can understand the concept of an inappropriate joke. A joke which mocks or feeds into stereotypes that are both harmful and demeaning to a subset of people. I get that, but the Ethiopians did have a famine. It's not a stereotype.
Than again, maybe that's my short coming? Maybe its too soon?
I sure wish we'd come up for a standard timeline so that I can know when it's ok to make jokes about a particular event. I'm basically aware that 9/11 is completely off limits forever. Than again....I can't really see any humorous angle there. Maybe down the line something ironic will happen and I'll feel the insatiable urge to point it out and get hissed at again.
Just as an FYI...I really enjoyed the Ethiopian food. We actually went with an Ethiopian woman from the team and she helped us order, so that I didn't blow my mouth up with spicy food. The only thing I didn't love about it was this spongey bread/wrap stuff that comes with the food. It kind of had a weird flavor to it...kind of sour. Interesting texture though.
Question of the Day: Did you know there was Ethiopian cuisine? Have you tried it? What did you think?