The White House Correspondents' Dinner was an interesting event, as Donald Trump decided to celebrate the marking of his 100th day in the office separately. It would have been a sight to see Trump at the dinner in Washington D.C. since Hasan Minhaj, an Indian-American Muslim comedian, hosted it. One of the highlights of the night was Minhaj's joke that showed how minorities are treated in America.
Minhaj addressed the star-studded crowd of prolific media personalities and said, "In the age of the Trump, I know that you guys to be more perfect now more than ever because you are how [Donald Trump] gets his news. Not from advisors, not from experts, not from intelligence agencies [but] you guys. So that's why you gotta be on your A game."
Minhaj made sure to poke fun at everyone. From Bill O'Reilly to Trump, no one was spared. But one of his jokes highlighted how racial minorities are treated in the United States. "When one of [the media] messes up, he blames your entire group. Now you know how it feels to be a minority," Minhaj said.
Minhaj's joke is particularly apt given the fact that Trump's very own commentary about Muslims has been eyebrow-raising. During his campaign, Trump cautioned against terrorist attacks and proceeded to paint the entire Muslim population as hazardous in his statement against immigration that called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Later on, Trump defended his executive order that banned Muslim immigration from several Muslim majority countries, in spite of people viewing it as inherently Islamophobic.
Minhaj made sure the Trump-less crowd knew what he was talking about. "I see some of you guys complaining like, 'What! I gotta work twice as hard for half [of] the credit?' Remember. You're a minority," he grinned. Minhaj continued, "You guys got a lot more experience than me, but I have three decades of being brown. So if you want to survive the age of Trump, you have to think like a minority."
One of the best aspects of Minhaj's joke was bringing his audience to reckon with the fact that racial minorities in the United States are often expected to speak for their respective communities. He told the crowd, "Now that you're a minority, everyone is going to expect you to be a mouthpiece for your entire group. So I hate to say it but somewhere all of you are being represented by Geraldo Rivera."
Minhaj told the audience that racial minorities are often belabored with the task of handling "distorted versions" of themselves throughout the country. He joked about Panda Express representing Chinese cuisine, Taco Bell for Mexican food, and slipped in a jab at the Huffington Post, too.
It's this kind of amusing humor that can expose inequality in society with clever analogies and sharp phrasing. It's needed now more than ever considering the fact that some racial minorities currently feel unsafe in Trump's America. Plus, media outlets should feel obligated to carry out more nuanced and complex coverage of events in the country without succumbing to the paranoia being permeated by the current administration.
Minhaj delivered an important message on that much-needed front with a great performance and even better ending, "By the way, you guys aren't really minorities. You guys are super white. But your work is really valuable and I am rooting for you."