Stereotype jokes

In your opinion, are jokes that poke fun at stereotypes sinful? Say a redneck joke or similar- not like a joke that targets a race.

I believe that sinfulness is rooted in the intention. If the intent is to hurt someone’s feelings or if someone’s feelings get hurt out of carelessness the joke is probably sinful. Denying someone employment or mistreating them simply because of their race or ethnicity is sinful too.

When I think of “racism” as mortally sinful… I think of the KKK or Adolph Hitler. On the other hand, when I think of Archie Bunker or George Jefferson (obviously fictional TV characters) or real life people who act like them I laugh because their silly views are amusing and often contain grains of truth. :smiley:

Sinfulness is in the degree I suppose. More than a few people in this politically correct age like to put Adolph Hitler and Archie Bunker in the same catagory and that is simply stupid. :thumbsup:

If you can’t say it about everyone, you shouldn’t say it about anyone.

Take the gender, race or stereotype out of the equation. If the joke still works, its fine. If it doesn’t, then don’t spread it.

I don’t know. I’m Italian and there are characteristics about my nationality that do not fit others. I don’t take offense when someone emphasizes one of those characteristics in a joke. I think that if a joke pokes at a very serious event to a particular ethnicity then it should be avoided. We all belong to the human race and some jokes pertaining to humanity in general can be offensive.(ie. sexual humor which includes both genders) However, I still believe that the best humor is when we can laugh at ourselves. We are all deficient in so many areas and when we can compare ourselves to others it can be funny.

So, obviously, we do not want to take someone’s tragedy in jest but to make light of a certain ethnic characteristic can be funny and not necessarily harmful. (ie. accent, hand gestures etc.)…

Probably not, unless the joke is hurtful to someone, which happens a lot with stereotype jokes, even when there’s no intention to hurt someone’s feelings. It’s best to steer clear of them unless you know someone won’t be offended.

I tell Norwegian jokes, based on the stereotype that norskies are big and dumb. But then I am a norsky, so I’m just talking about myself.

Hey, ya hear the one about the smart Norwegian?

Forget it. Just a rumor.



But we don’t always know the harm we do others. I have a friend from Missouri who admitted once that every redneck joke made him die a little on the inside. He’d always muster at least a smile, but he was just heartsick at being told he was a stupid, inbred moron because he came from the rural south and worked outdoors.

It’s probably MORE fair to attack someone based on faith-- since that’s a matter of choice-- than ethnicity or gender or region of origin.

When was the last time you had a good laugh at an anti-Catholic Joke?

I’ve left some online groups-- even one with several thousand members, where I was a moderator-- because people wouldn’t stop telling "So the priest says to the altar boy, ‘If the pope wasn’t OK with this, he’d let me get married!’ " jokes.

If confronted with their biggotry, the response is always ‘But it was FUNNY! I was only JOKING! You should LIGHTEN UP!’

I guess I’ve never learned how to do that, never been able to see the funny side of cruelty.

I think it totally depends on the nature of the joke and the people to whom it is told.

I once asked a Mormon friend if he knew the difference between an Arkansawyer and a Mormon Arkansawyer. (Arkansans are the butt of jokes here in Missouri, particularly for allegedly being inbred, as are Missourians in other places. St. Louisans make fun of us “hillbillies”, and we make fun of them.).

The answer is that the Mormon Arkansawyer can marry ALL of his sisters.

He laughed until he nearly threw up. But he was a friend, and we had joked before about religion and stereotypes. Now, I would never tell that to a Mormon whom I did not know and whose attitude toward such things was unknown to me. I would need to know the Arkansan non-Mormon to whom I might tell that joke, as well. I have told it to Arkansans, but I always knew them well, and knew how they would take it. (Besides, where I live there is not a dime’s worth of difference between us and Arkansans, and we both know it. It’s only 30 miles away.)

On an earlier occasion, the same Mormon wanted to cancel an appointment with me because he was the Stake President or something and had to go to his “Church headquarters” for a meeting. I told him I imagined that would be an expensive trip, and he agreed that it would. I then offered to pay his way if he would pay my way to my Church headquarters. For some reason he thought I was an AG, I suppose because there are so many of them around here. (Was that a prejudice on his part? I didn’t care) Anyway the AG world headquarters is about 45 minutes from here. He agreed readily. Then he got to thinking. “Uh…what is your Church??? he asked”. When I told him I am Catholic and thanked him for volunteering to pay my way to Rome, we both had a good laugh out of it. He reneged on the deal, of course, and told me I had better go to confession for suckering a poor Mormon. He was joking, and I didn’t care.

I have joked with Southern Baptists about losing their “saved” status by drinking a beer with me. They take it well because I wouldn’t tell that except among friends. (Besides, what can one say if he’s drinking beer?) They joke about me being “hell-bound” for “drinking blood”. (Local thing. A polish Catholic community near here has a soup made of duck’s blood. Czarnina, I think it’s called. Looks bad, and I wouldn’t touch it, but Baptists joke about all of us “drinking” it.)

Again, it all depends on the context and the people among whom it’s told.

Redneck jokes ARE often race related, from my experience; they poke fun at lower-class whites from certain regions. I think they’re pretty inappropriate.

Our current VP once said: “There are Cheneys on both sides of my family…and I’m not even from West Virginia” :eek:

I agree Annn…they seem to portray all poor whites as stupid, ignorant, racist. which many know just isn’t the case. racial jokes are fine. just as long as they aren’t degrading or hurtful.

I have no idea about the morality of stereotypical jokes but I do know that I usually find such jokes to be personally offensive.

I think the answer lies with the intention, as stated numerous times above me. I don’t have a personal problem with them at all, as long as they aren’t racist or demeaning (but that is not to say that racial stereotypes for the sake of comedic purposes are bad). I’m Dominican and Italian, so I get a good deal of racial/national stereotype jokes, and most of them usually make me laugh (the ones that don’t are just stupid, not offensive).

Note: I contemplated using the clever smiley function to display two common stereotypes people like Apocalypse 12 dish out to me all the time, but I refrained for fear of negative retribution.

I have to respectfully disagree: all of us have hurt people unintentionally, all of us have been hurt by people unintentionally. Better to err on the side of gentleness, and not tell a joke that depends on race or sterotype for it’s ‘comic’ effect.

It’s like the times I mentioned above when people insist their dirty ‘priest/pedophile’ jokes aren’t offensive, because they didn’t intend them to be-- the worst biggots don’t think they are biggots at all, they think they are just speaking self evident truth.

Have you ever heard of Jim Gaffigan? He is a Catholic stand-up comedian. One of his jokes is: “…of course I don’t know what the Bible says, because I don’t read it, because I don’t have to, because I’m Catholic…”
It might only be funny to Catholics living in the south.

He goes on to poke fun at the conversation where Mary explained to Joeseph that she was pregnant.

If we can’t laugh at ourselves, why should we laugh at anything else?

Did you hear what the Baptist are doing now? They actual speak to each other in the liqour store!

It’s fine to laugh at our selves. Less fine to laugh at others based on where they were born or the ethnicity of their ancestors.

And not so good to use your membership in some minority group to mock that group for the amusement of it’s non-members.

I don’t consider the joke you reference anti-Catholic, but it doesn’t make me laugh, either. It probably does confirm the biggots in their belief that Catholics hate scriptue, though. But then, I’ve never understood Gaffigan’s appeal…

The anti-Catholic jokes I’m referring to are far beyond this, I’m afraid.

It’s one thing to poke a little fun at your own social/relgious/ethnic group, quite another to attack someone elses.

And most sterotype jokes are attacks.

I differentiate between the two. A joke based on a stereotype is just something we laugh at. An attack based on a stereotype is bigotry.

Just because someone takes offense at something doen’t necessarily mean they were attacked. Every joke will offend someone, that doesn’t mean they were attacked.

I guess it goes to how high a standard we are willing to hold ourselves to as christians.

I haven’t told another ‘redneck’ joke since I found out how badly they hurt my freind. The laugh just isn’t worth it.

If a joke isn’t just as funny with the racial [etc.] element removed, it isn’t a joke at all, IMO.

For the record, I strongly disagree. I can see, however, that there is nothing to be gained by continuing this discussion. Peace, friend.

You bring up some good points. While the intention of a joke might be goodhearted, there are times where it does not end that way. Somewhere, sometime, someone has been offended by a stereotype joke. I, too, have been hurt by one at one point, so I completely understand the statement.

However, it’s not about the joke itself (another time, I ended up laughing at the same joke). It’s the intention, the timing, and the maturity (or immaturity/ignorance) surrounding it.

Personally, I don’t think the jokes are bad, if the surrounding circumstances are appropriate. But, like you suggest, it’s far better to err on the side of gentleness and kindness, rather than just throwing things out there which we might regret later.

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