My Senegalese friend Jimi and I engage in a little friendly banter when we’re here. We don’t hurl racial epithets, but we’re not exactly PC. For example, when the Iraqi elections were on I asked him if he’d voted. He said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “Just because you’re over here doesn’t mean you can’t vote.” He said, “My people are from India, not Iraq”–as if I didn’t know that. I replied, “Well, my people couldn’t vote for years, so I was checking in on that.” Or I made a joke to him a couple of weeks prior to that about the airport security thing: “Before 9/11 I would be the passenger they would be suspicious of, but now you’re the one they want to pull out of line and pat down. That is, unless you have two brown people in line–then we’re both screwed.” We joke around a lot like this and talk about the stereotypical things that the world has put toward Indians and blacks. People who don’t know us think we’re insulting each other, but it’s all a joke to us. Sometimes we escalate it to the point where we’re fake fighting, but we’re really still just kidding.

–Brandon Thompson, playwright/actor