The 'Reverse Racism' Joke Heard 'Round the World

"I could be a reverse-racist if I wanted to," quips Rahman, "all I would need is a time machine."

Aamer Rahman is a standup comedian—although "comedian" doesn't really do Rahman justice. In university classrooms and online chatrooms around the world, he's the sharp funnyman who just happened to shut down every "reverse racism" argument with one expertly arranged joke.

Born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents, and now living in Australia, Rahman has developed a style of comedy both smart and side-splitting. His act reflects his experience growing up in Australia with brown skin, and his jokes poke fun at everything from international politics and the “War on Terror" to less-serious topics like TV and Batman. But it's a bit he developed as a last-ditch effort right before hanging up the mic forever that's made him a viral sensation.

"Reverse Racism" is one of those jokes so perfectly timed, so expertly executed, that it's been viewed nearly three million times on YouTube and even studied as part of college courses.

“My thing is not to point out things that people haven’t noticed," Rahman explained to an Abu Dhabi newspaper. "My audience has already noticed it. My show is basically about being together and being honest about it."

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Formerly part of the stand-up duo “Fear of a Brown Planet” with Nazeem Hussain, Rahman has roots in social justice work; he first met Hussain at an Islamic awards event, as they both have law degrees. Rahman has performed his solo show The Truth Hurts across the U.S., from Brooklyn to the Bay Area.

Inspired by the likes of Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, and for audiences who know and love the work of Hari Kondabolu and Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, Rahman delivers a laughter and thought with the type of deceptively simple joke that audiences inevitably attempt to re-tell to friends.

 

Note: This post originally ran as part of an event preview in 2015.