Did you hear the one about the bigot? It’s a forum planned at the University of Iowa, about being more sensitive. Tamar Fox of Chicago, a second-year student in the U’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, says she decided to organize a forum on bigoted jokes and other bad ways of opening dialogue, after a January 31st attack on a nonwhite student.It was late at night around downtown Iowa City, when the student was approached by three men who called her “Chink” and started making monkey noioses, then assaulted her and a companion, and Fox says both sustained “pretty major injuries.” Iowa City police say they’ll complete their investigation and issue a report on that incident by the end of this week. Fox says people she meets are ignorant about people from other countries, races or ethnic groups. She says people say things that are offensive or foolish when they learn she’s Jewish, and her favorite was when someone asked her how to make a bagel. Fox says there’s nothing wrong with laughing at ourselves and each other She’s met people from Iowa who are “totally understanding,” and some who don’t know where to begin, and she thinks it’s not so much that they’re Iowans as that they’ve never encountered such a situation before. Tamar says she doesn’t want to lecture people who come to the roundtable discussion.She doesn’t want to tell people to never use certain words, because she doesn’t think it’ll change them, but would like them to think about what they say, when they laugh…and what they say after they hear a joke like that. Questioning stereotypes can make a very funny joke, she says, that’s not aimed at hurting anyone. Tamar Fox says that “Did You Hear the One About the Bigot” will begin at 8:30 two weeks from today at the Hillel Jewish Student Center in Iowa City.
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