Are ethnic jokes inherently wrong, racist, or offensive?

Homepage Forums Small Talk Are ethnic jokes inherently wrong, racist, or offensive?

This topic contains 163 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 7 months ago.

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  • #36982

    Unseen
    Participant

    What about this one:

    Two Jewish shopkeepers are shuttering their shops at the same time.

    Sol says to Ben, “How is business, Ben?”

    “Not good, Sol. I lose a dollar or two on every sale.”

    “That’s terrible, Ben.”

    “Well, yes and no.”

    “How so?”

    “I make up for it with volume.”

    **********

    A Mexican goes to a Chinese restaurant…
    He sits down at his table, and notices a small bottle of dark liquid on his table. He picks it up and looks at the label and says, “yes, you are.”

    **********

    Then there’s the play (and, later, movie) whose title was:

    No Sex, Please. We’re British

    #36984

    jakelafort
    Participant

    It depends on the context and spirit in which the jokes are delivered. They’re not inherently wrong, racist or offensive.

    #36989

    Autumn
    Participant

    I don’t know that I’d qualify those as ethnic jokes. The third is the closest. The second is more of a language joke. The first only feels like an ethnic joke to the extent you could hear a Jewish stereotype delivering that punchline as a sort of dry, almost dark humour.

    But even if we include those jokes, I don’t think the issue is that we can’t separate racism from jokes about ethnicity; it’s that we can’t separate the jokes from racism.

    Sometimes a joke is a joke. Sometimes there is a lot more behind it. As humans, we’re sensitive to what’s unspoken, but also as humans, we don’t always read unspoken cues correctly. When the topic at hand happens to be something you’ve faced a lot of legitimate judgment, bigotry and prejudice for, there is a lot of tension in not knowing why a person said something. You can ask them why, but both a person who was just making a joke and a passive-aggressive racist or racists who are trying to feel out how much they can get away with will say similar things much of the time. “It’s just a joke.”

    And sometimes even when the joke itself isn’t that bad or is maybe harmless by its content alone, it calls up things that are painful. Or it calls up a response to patterns of racist behaviour that person has encountered before. Or it feeds into patterns of being singled our or alienated. When you experience that sort of thing over a life time, and it touches on much deeper, much worse issues, it can get into some complex mind fuckery and warped social dynamics.

    I guess what I am getting at is if you want to tell jokes, there isn’t going to be a way to do it by divorcing the subject matter from broader social context.

    #36995

    If you start telling any stereotypical Irish jokes I will punch your lights out as soon as I finish this drink.

    #37000

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen and Fellow Unbelievers,

    While any attribution of chosen character traits to immutable traits is bigoted, I say that making bigots the butt of humorous derision is a much better approach to dealing with bigotry than Politically Correct/Woke/Cancel Culture “hate speech” codes and mob violence.

    Norman Lear made a career out of lampooning and satirizing bigotry in all of his programs.  Others can creatively do the same.

    Often, bigots in real life make their own gravy, such as that Neo-Nazi who was trying to buy up a town who was revealed by one of those online geneology firms to have a little African in his lineage (like we all don’t have African in us.  The Leakys would chortle at that!)   I’ll see if I can find that video.

    #37001

    @theencogitationer: This may be the video? I have seen another similar one somewhere too. Are we not all “out of Africa” anyway…where it all began?

    #37002

    Autumn
    Participant

    Unseen and Fellow Unbelievers, While any attribution of chosen character traits to immutable traits is bigoted, I say that making bigots the butt of humorous derision is a much better approach to dealing with bigotry than Politically Correct/Woke/Cancel Culture “hate speech” codes and mob violence.

    Making bigots the butt of humorous derision would be labelled as woke and politically correct. What are you, new?

    #37003

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen and Fellow Unbelievers,

    Here it is 😁:

    Kristina, I have never seen anyone who consciously identifies as Woke or Politically Correct have an ounce of humor in them whatsoever.  And they certainly couldn’t do a better lambasting on Mr. Cobb than he did on himself with his posturings of purity.

    And if totally uninitiated in Norman Lear, the Woke Mob would be burning Lear’s studio down.  The Woke might even do it anyway on the grounds of imputed “internalized racism” by Sammy Davis, Jr.:

    😁😆😅🤣😂

    Not to mention that Jewishness doesn’t even rate and LGBTQ-ness in males barely rates on the Woke Intersectionality totem pole of oppression.

    The Woke and the PC have the funny bone of a Portuguese Man-O’-War and would sting anybody who just said that.

     

    #37005

    Davis
    Moderator

    First you had Simon hyper generalising about woke people, and now Eco is doing it. Eco…consider laying off of the stereotypes. Woke people cover a very broad spectrum of people who use a variety of tools to cut down on harmful speech.

    Woke people can even include university jock frat boys who call out their friends when they make rape-jokes or engage in rape-culture discourse. It’s not remotely a homogeneous group of embittered people. It can include people who only point out the most serious cases of bigotry and harmful language. I personally contribute to a comedy writing website that has many woke users who ridicule bigotry. Ridicule helps (a lot). But I’m sorry Eco…you aren’t going to convince the entire biggoted population of Texas to tone down their harmful language through humour alone. That’s fucking ridiculous. Even progressive and liberal people can use harmful language. You may have noticed that one mission of wokeism is to reduce harmful stereotypes. Eco…stereotyping woke people as serious, humourless, angry warriors…is just doing one of the very things that woke people are aiming to lessen. Consider not doing that.

    • Do some woke people go too far? Yes (people of all ideological persuasions and movements can go too far)
    • Do they go too far as a collective? Of course not. That would be a ridiculous exaggeration.
    • Are the aims of wokeism reasonable? If even slightly reducing the burden that marginalised people have to deal with every day means having some people confront uncomfortable things about themselves…be unreasonable then I don’t know what is reasonable.

    You’re just threatened by what they are doing and react by painting the entire movement with emotive sound-clips of a few people going over-the-top. It’s similar to say 30 years ago when people fighting to allow gay people in the military and trying to get the public to be more accepting of homosexuality and accepting more women in the work place were considered angry humourless radicals. The reaction to wokeism is often more extreme than say, even the behaviour of the minority of extreme woke activists who go too far. It is a conservative reaction by uncomfortable people who prefer to let things stay as they are, maintain the status quo and let marginalised people deal with all the grief and baggage.

    Wokeism isn’t going away. Much of their language is literally being adopted by teenagers (just as when I was a teenager narratives about equality and tollerance were making their rounds and we picked them up [sometimes making our grandparents groan]). That doesn’t mean it was fully incorporated into our beliefs and actions but it certainly toned down things to make life somewhat less miserable for marginalised people.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #37007

    Davis
    Moderator

    Actually some of the most hilarious jokes are ones about a nation of people that have few, if any negative stereotypes like Canadians or the Finnish. They end up being super bland jokes that could apply to anyone (say if they were about the cold weather in those countries). Even funnier is when shows come along and just invent jokes. South Park just decided that Canadians like to fart on each other, have flapping heads and have one single road from coast to coast. How I met your mother decided that Canadians are afraid of the dark and are really proud of their colourful bank notes. For Ren and Stimpy the country is either pure tundra or jungle. According to Dudley Dooright, canadians ride their horses backwards and speak one or two times more slowly than Americans.

    #37008

    Autumn
    Participant

    Kristina, I have never seen anyone who consciously identifies as Woke or Politically Correct have an ounce of humor in them whatsoever.  And they certainly couldn’t do a better lambasting on Mr. Cobb than he did on himself with his posturings of purity.

    So when someone makes a joke, you’re digging around to see if they “consciously identif[y]” as woke or pc? Or perhaps you expect them to identify themselves as such for you? Or is it when you see someone woke or pc and they aren’t making a joke at that moment, you assume they have no sense of humour? What, do you get to know them to figure that out?

    What a bizarre statement. Do you ever actually listen to yourself?

    #37009

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Reg,

    We used two different sources, but the video was the same.  It was a scream watching Mr. Cobb stammer and “hammina-hammina” his way through the cognitive dissonance.😁

    Yes, we are all Africans (hence my earlier reference to the Leakys, Mary and Louis, who discovered our earliest known Hominid predecessor “Lucy,” the Australopithicus in the Olduvai Gorge of Tanzania.)

    There was once an Atheist bumper sticker proclaiming that truth, but I doubt it would play well with the Black Lives Matter crowd, since they think that the phrase “All Lives Matter” is racist.  (Huh???)

     

    #37015

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Kristina,

    So when someone makes a joke, you’re digging around to see if they “consciously identif[y]” as woke or pc? Or perhaps you expect them to identify themselves as such for you? Or is it when you see someone woke or pc and they aren’t making a joke at that moment, you assume they have no sense of humour? What, do you get to know them to figure that out?

    What a bizarre statement. Do you ever actually listen to yourself?

    What I mean is that on a Venn Diagram, the circle of Wokeness and the circle of Humor have zero points of intersection.

    You never see Ibram X. Kendi with an arrow through his Kufi cap, (though he is “a wild and crazy guy” in a bad way.)

    You never hear Beverly DiAngelo telling a “walks into a bar” joke, even where there are no oppressed minorities as butt of the joke and the power dynamics are 100 percent equal.

    And absolutely nothing about the burning, looting and murder of the past 10 months in the U.S. has been the least bit funny…or even addressed the very real injustice of police brutality.

    So yeppers, Wokeism is as funny as a pipeful of crack.

    #37016

    Autumn
    Participant

    Kristina,

    So when someone makes a joke, you’re digging around to see if they “consciously identif[y]” as woke or pc? Or perhaps you expect them to identify themselves as such for you? Or is it when you see someone woke or pc and they aren’t making a joke at that moment, you assume they have no sense of humour? What, do you get to know them to figure that out? What a bizarre statement. Do you ever actually listen to yourself?

    What I mean is that on a Venn Diagram, the circle of Wokeness and the circle of Humor have zero points of intersection.

    Yes, I understood the literal meaning of your words. I was trying to give you a chance to back up statements which seemed to be steeped in irrational bias. In light of you response here, your preference is to double down, I take it. That is your prerogative.

    #37036

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Kristina,

    One small correction, the Wokeness advocate I meant to refer to is Robin Diangelo, not Beverly DiAngelo.

    Beverly D’Angelo (no ‘i’ in the name) played Ellen Griswold in the hilarious National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise.   Beverly probably would tell some great “walks into a bar” jokes. 😁

     

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