How Do You Respond to That?

Last night we went to the midwife appointment. There are six midwives in the practice, so last night we saw one we hadn’t seen before and she had a strange sense of humor.

In she walks, full of nervous energy. She says hello and then poses near the calendar on the wall:

“I like to pose near the calendar so people can see…” She’s one of those people who laughs at her own jokes.

Hubby and I laugh, too. Not because that was particularly funny, but because she’s obviously making a good natured attempt to help us feel more comfortable.

While we’re still laughing, she adds, “Because I’m the dark one.” Then, as our laughter starts to become less comfortable. “Most people don’t believe I work here so I show them the calendar.”

HUH?

Did our (African American) midwife just make a racist joke? About herself? And or the bigotry of her patients?

And how does one react to that? If we keep laughing, do we approve of the joke? And if we stop laughing, what does that signal?

Leaving aside the race issue, it isn’t really even a joke–lacking any comedic structure or timing.

Throughout the appointment, she was friendly and professional and thorough…but she definitely had one of those odd senses of humor. The type that is not particularly funny, so she just tells the jokes really quickly and then laughs loudly. Later in the appointment, she compared my two year-old’s typical toddler speech patterns to Tarzan/caveman speak. Not really offensive…just strange and not especially well-delivered.

I really hope she isn’t the one on for the delivery…I don’t think I’d find her brand of humor especially relaxing.

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One comment

  1. Arleigh says:

    What a strange situation. People tend to stay away from racial jokes around my DH and I because he is half Thai, but no one can tell exactly what nationality he is. He does have people start speaking to him in Spanish quite a bit. He doesn’t even know Thai for that matter. He’s American. I do wish more people would get over trying to separate us all into groups by pointing out the obvious.

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