Where do you draw the line on ethnic humor—especially humor by those outside the group being mocked? I think most would agree the answer to that depends on the time and place. Would the BBC ever consider holocaust humor? Are there any jokes about Treblinka and Auschwitz the BBC would consider amusing? I think we can safely say no one outside of neo-Nazis thinks genocide is funny.
But I wonder if the BBC and the hosts of Top Gear realize that genocide against Mexicans is part of an online game that has been on web for the last several years called Border Patrol. In Border Patrol, the player scores points by shooting Mexicans attempting to cross the border. The game offers three types of targets: Mexican Nationalist, Drug Smuggler, and Breeder. The “Breeder” is a pregnant woman with a child and an infant in diapers. When shot, the woman, child, and infant explode in bloody carnage. This violent, bloody game is an extension of the same mindset that created the Mexican-bashing “jokes” on Top Gear. It’s all in fun, right?
Like Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson said in his closing comment when saying that this is all a joke: “Why doesn’t Mexico have an Olympic team? It’s because everyone there who can run, jump or swim is already across the border.”
I don’t believe the hosts of Top Gear are bigots. But the flippant, excuse-ridden “apology” by Clarkson reveals someone who is clearly out of touch with the implications of his slurs on this side of the Atlantic.
It’s time for Clarkson to own up for his stupid comments and stop trying to evade them.