Although Netflix describes it as edgy, and although the very idea of digging into Jewish and Black relations in a movie is a bold exercise, the actual writing in “You People” isn’t all that risqué. Sure, there are allusions to sensitive subjects like Black hair, Jewish wealth, Louis Farrakhan, west coast gangs, the January 6th insurrection, and vaccine conspiracy theories… but most of the edges of those comments have been sanded off. The joke that comes closest to crossing the line is also one of the film’s funniest.
Ezra shows Mo the engagement ring he’s picked out for Amira, and Mo can’t help but notice how small it is. “You got to make up a story or something for this, bro,” Mo advises him. “I’m just gonna be like, it’s my gramma’s holocaust ring,” he decides. But Mo points out that he can’t say it’s his grandmother’s ring if it’s in a brand new box, advising, “You wanna put it in, like, a satchel.” Ezra agrees to “dirty up” and “holocaust down” the store bought ring to make the lie more believable.
It’s tough to joke about the holocaust (and slavery, as we see when Shelley and Akbar compare suffering notes), but this joke isn’t really about the extermination of Jews. It could be seen as an instance of in-speech… when an oppressed group reclaims the painful language of which they were victims. Ezra is using it to be self-deprecating about his inability to buy a bigger diamond. His lie hilariously falls apart as soon as Amira starts asking questions, realizing his “Bubby” would’ve been about four-years-old during World War II.