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A recent Facebook update informed a user's friends that, on a night out at a bar, “a white dude was hitting on me all night”. It occurred to a couple of us independently that the user was not white or at least very likely not to be white, which was actually confirmed by those in the know. This paper is an attempt to explore and explain, the nature of this and similar inferences and to sketch out a way to compute them. A thorough search by a noted pragmaticist, in our ranks, has failed to produce any similar study, and it is borne out by the map and trends in the field. We have also realized that the inference can serve as a new and more rigorous explanation for a large class of jokes that none of us, humor researchers all (among other things), has ever seen analyzed that way. The largely formalism-free façade of the paper should not distract a reader from the technical nature of the argument.
Date of Conference: 10-13 Oct. 2010