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View Diary: Is This Joke Racist? (97 comments)

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  •  yes and here's why: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crashing Vor, pgm 01, marykk, Plubius
    1. because the same joke can be and often is told in a non racist way - but then it's usually a lawyer joke - so maybe that's not so good either? - in other words the use of the ethnicity is gratuitous, not needed.
    1. because is plays on a negative ethnic stereotype that is used against Jews.

    That does not mean that all ethnic jokes are automatically racist.  It can depend on who is telling it of course - a member of the group it is told about can get away with more.  And it depends on what sort of stereotype one is making a joke of.
    To make a joke say, about some group being lazy or dirty or criminal - yes, racist.
    But then there's this:

    When does a Jewish mother consider the fetus viable?

    When it graduates from medical school.

    The thing about Jewish mothers being very ambitious for their children's success in life is certainly a stereotype, but not really a negative one since that's not a negative characteristic really, so to my mind, different story.

    finally the joke could be told better:

    A rich man nears the  end of his life and is determined to try to take it with him.  He calls in his doctor, his minister and his lawyer and gives each of them $50,000 in cash with instructions to place it in his coffin.
    In due course, he does die.  At the funeral, each of them men is seen to approach the coffin and place something inside.
    Later, they are lunching together and the minister blurts out:
    "I have to confess, the church needs a new roof and I held back 10,000 dollars - I didn't put it all in."
    The doctor hangs his head a moment and says:  "I'm afraid I too let our friend down.  I only put half of it in and kept 25,000."

    The lawyer shakes his head: "I am so disappointed in you.  I'll have you know I put my personal check for the whole 50,000 right in that coffin."

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments.  In many ways, your version of the joke is better than the one in my diary, but my purpose was not so much to make readers laugh (which is certainly a nice bonus), as to examine the complexities of racial humor.  I can't very well do that with a joke about lawyers.

    •  true story: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01, marykk

      two Jewish families were attending a hockey game. the visiting team's goalie had a "jewish last name". he was getting a serious shellacking that night.

      "Oh, that poor orphan," said one of the mothers attending the game.

      "How do you know he's an orphan," asked one of the other people.

      "Because no Jewish mother would let her son play goalie," said the Jewish mother.

      Somewhere, there is a fine balance between acknowledging the existence of culture, and being a bigot. That balance point is not clearly delineated. It is annoying, however, that many people on the left don't even recognize this reality: that if culture exists, then some stereotypes must have some essential truth in them.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 09:43:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's only ethnic joke I've ever used (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk, Chico David RN

        and it's really more about the politics of ethnicity. It's outdated anyway now that the Cold War is over.

        An angel appears in a cafe and speaks to the clientele: a Fascist, a Communist, and a Jew.

        **Rejoice, for the Lord God has deputized me to dispense miracles. Each of you shall be granted a single wish--what shall it be?**

        The Fascist doesn't hesitate, "I wish that all Communists be imprisoned within a sheer wall 50 feet high which is then filled to the brink with molten lead.

        The Communist glares at the Fascist, and says, "I don't believe angels grant wishes or even exist, but assuming you can and do, then I wish that all Fascists be imprisoned behind a wall 100 feet high, which is then filled to the top with molten lead."

        The angel looks sad, and turns to the Jewish gentleman, who has remained silent, **And you? What is your wish?**

        The Jew pauses a moment and then says, "Well, if you're granting both those wishes, I'll just take another cup of coffee, thank you."

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:42:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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