From the acclaimed writer, director, and star of the hit documentary The Muslims are Coming! comes a memoir in essays about growing up Iranian-American in a post-9/11 world and the power of comedy to combat racism.
Negin Farsad is an Iranian-American-Muslim female stand-up comedian who believes she can change the world through jokes. And yes, sometimes that includes fart jokes. In this candid and uproarious book, Farsad shares her personal experiences growing up as the "other" in an American culture that has no time for nuance. In fact, she longed to be black and/or Mexican at various points of her youth, you know, like normal kids. Right? RIGHT?
Writing bluntly and hilariously about the elements of race we are often too politically correct to discuss, Farsad takes a long hard look at the iconography that still shapes our concepts of "black," "white," and "Muslim" today-and what it means when white culture defines the culture. Farsad asks the important questions like, What does it mean to have a hyphenated identity? How can we actually combat racism, stereotyping, and exclusion? Do Iranians get bunions at a higher rate than other ethnic groups? (She's asking for a friend.)
How to Make White People Laugh tackles these questions with wit, humor, and incisive intellect. And along the way, you might just learn a thing or two about tetherball, Duck Dynasty, and wine slushies.
This collection of nonfiction essays from Farsad, a stand-up comedian and director/producer of the documentary The Muslims Are Coming!, offers a look at the social issues that plague America today, including racism, sexism, and media bias. Farsad tackles these ideas head-on with clear facts and a wit that will keep the liberal reader engaged. Using her own experiences as an Iranian-American, Farsad offers a glimpse at what life is like as a "third thing," or a group that doesn't quite fit into one world or another, from her Palm Springs, Fla., childhood, where she tried to identify as Mexican, to her collegiate years at Cornell, where she identified more with black culture. The comic hits her stride when she focuses on the personal rather than polemic. The insight that Farsad offers regarding modern Iranian life is much more nuanced than her quick takes on more general topics, such as Jainism. Farsad's fresh and funny voice is perfect for presenting tactics to fight anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S., and her work is intriguing and enjoyable to read.