Re: Why ethnical jokes?

Bob Keeter (
22 Sep 1996 20:27:57 GMT (Mojtaba) wrote:
>I have wondered why there are ethnical jokes? Is there any theory on
>this matter?
>I appreciate all type of countribuations both if you address me to
>some works or if you simply put your idea under this thread.

Just some guesses. Starting off I think that there is a basic
human tendency to degrade one's oppenent in warfare. Just check
out the propaganda cartoons from the World Wars (OBTW, if you win
your cartoons are still funny!). This is neither good nor evil it
just is! With all of the wars humans seem to perpetrate, there's
been plenty of these cariactures; I suspect that some have just
plain stuck around.

Second, it is unfortunate that there is a tendency for some people to
feel better about themselves by degrading others. Sort of "I may
be in bad shape, but I'm not as disorganized as the Italians,
rigid as the Germans, stupid as the Poles, etc, etc, etc." Sad
but true; Im afraid that some egos are so fragile that they need
to tear down others just to feel good.

Finally, have you ever noticed that some of the more popular
"ethnic" jokes are fairly general purpose? Change the ethnic
group and the joke is just as good? Discounting those jokes with
obvious evil intent, could it be most ethnic jokes are just simple
humor where the butt of the joke is some nationality or ethnic
group instead of "my wife", "my husband", the "guy down the street",
or "myself"? If you watch a Jeff Foxworthy or a Richard Prior
standup routine you know exactly what I mean. In any other
scenario, a "redneck" or a "black" joke would be considered
truely "ethnic". In other words, I can steal a Foxworthy joke,
tell it liberally and not be denounced for telling ethnic jokes;
on the other hand, I could not repeat some of Prior's material
without being accused of being a racist and telling ethnic jokes.

Oh well, did you here the one about the priest, the minister, the rabbi
the mullah, the shaman and the agnostic. . . . 8-))))