Are ethnic jokes sinful?

As long as they arent derogatory or offending anybody, is telling an ethnic joke a sin? For example, yesterday I was joking with a friend about how people in certain countries dress and talk.

That’s a tough one.

Yes, in that they can be hurtful. Words can really do a lot of damage, both to the individual and to the group.

No, in that they’re only words, and the person who hears the joke needs to understand the weakness of the person who tells it.

It really has to do with the context, when, to whom, etc.

(I have been the butt of ethnic jokes, often told to me by friends, and some jokes were very offensive. :shrug: And not even funny. :rolleyes:)

I generally go by the rule that I don’t make jokes that are about groups other than the ones I’m in (or closely tied to - I’ve now been married long enough to my husband that I can make jokes about Italians. ;))

I’m an ethnic mutt and my husband is African American. I don’t do ethnic jokes or stereotypes.

Ethnic jokes- even if not sinful and many of them are - are not the decent, christian, charitable, civilized thing to do.

I am going to clarify that I don’t do mean jokes, but I might do a little self-deprecating humor about the reserved, typical WASP mannerisms I learned growing up, and I might poke fun about my husband’s numerous great-aunts who expressed horror that someone might not serve pasta at a social function. These are pretty common among people who are in the same in-group and I think at this level they are harmless.

This thread reminded me of a funny. I did my intermediate language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. At one point in the '70s (and as far as I know, ever since), ethnic jokes were banned. So, instead of saying, “Did you hear the one about the Irishman/German/Mexican/Whatever who . . .”, the troops just substituted the word “ethnic” for the subject of the joke: “Did you hear the one about the ethnic who . . .”.

I’m half Norwegian, and we Norwegian-Americans have made careers out of making fun of ourselves. Like: Did you hear the one about the smart Norwegian? Forget it, just a rumor :stuck_out_tongue: I do tell Norwegian jokes, but not other ethnic jokes.

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