Jokes about various groups

  1. In light of the discussion raised by a thread over in the breakroom, "Southerners will understand" (http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...8&page=1&pp=10), a few thoughts have been whirling around in my mind & I thought that I'd share them with the group & see what others think about the topic.

    I come from a very diverse family. We have family members who are Puerto Rican, Italian, Southern, Jewish, Catholic, Vietnamese, Protestant, Hawaiian, Western European, and Mexican. We have a number of Nurses and Rednecks in the mix as well. We all have a warped sense of humor. However, when I am with any of my cousins (or aunts & uncles for that mater), we don't tell jokes about different groups, only about ourselves.

    So I wonder, is it ever okay to tell a joke about a group of which you are not a member? And I mean it, I AM wondering about this. I'm not attempting to bash anyone. This has just been a question of mine from time to time & since the previous post, well, I'm asking. Especially in the light of everyone trying to be politically correct. What's the difference between being thoughtful/considerate versus going overboard on being politically correct?

    What do YOU think?
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  2. 70 Comments

  3. by   jnette
    Good question, Eltrip, and I respect your meditations on this.

    I have to be honest here and say I just don't KNOW ... so much of humour has always and forever consisted of little digs at others.. be it cultures, professions, you name it. I just think if we're able to dish it out we should also be able to TAKE it, y'know? Fair is fair.

    I think when we begin to expect perfection in ourselves and others by being so "PC" all the time, we miss out on a lot of good laughs, even at ourselves. For it is IN our imperfections that the humour lies.

    Personally I just see no harm in these, as long as no harm is intended.

    It's been a sort of "venting" of "differences" for eons amongst all peoples.. and I might add that many a friend has been made in the process.. more oten so than enemies.

    Just my own personal thoughts, and I may be all wrong. But.. better wrong than a liar.
  4. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    My own experience with this:

    I grew up hearing a LOT of West Virginia jokes. Granted there are some on this planet that think they are funny, but try to hear them for 20 years, knowing that the jokes are based on stereotypes and insults, and it gets old really fast. Nor would i even consider telling these jokes myself, with the mentality that 'hey i'm from there, so that makes it ok'. No it doesn't. I don't want to hear (read) that crap, and that includes from myself.

    So, no i don't like jokes about various groups, and if the title (or the first few sentences indicate what the joke is about) indicates such, i skip it.
    Last edit by Marie_LPN, RN on Dec 21, '04
  5. by   Tweety
    We all have varying degrees of what is acceptable to us. What is acceptable in your family may not be acceptable outside your family by others and someone might be offended. Many years ago a respiratory therapist and a nurse got fired for a racial joke, when a secretary was offended. Zero tolerance, you're fired. My gut reaction was "it's a joke, they meant no harm, and as far as jokes go it was mild". But I had to step out of the box and consider if I were African American growing up in this society would I be offended by two European Americans joking about blacks?

    I realize it's tiresome in this day of being pc, tiptoing around what is pc or not pc. And it sometimes seems to be going overhand when phrases like "Happy Chriskwannaka" are used. As Jnette said, if we can't poke fun at our varying cultures, what's left to joke about? Just be sensitive and be prepared to respectfully apologize saying you really meant no harm.

    I disagree with Jnette that jokes are o.k. if no harm was intended. The uglist of racial or homophobic jokes can be meant for humor only and cause harm. I do however consider the source and the intent before deciding if it's something I want to engage in or let roll off my shoulders, or even laugh at.

    I make it my policy never to joke at someone elses expense. Aren't we really trying to elevate our own status by joking about others?
    Last edit by Tweety on Dec 21, '04
  6. by   TiffyRN
    Does anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where one of Jerry's friends (his dentist?) converted to Judaism and Jerry believed he only did it so he could make jokes about the Jewish population? Made me think then and now. . .

    Also, how close do you have to be to a social/ethnic/religious/whatever group for it to be acceptable for you to crack jokes? I'm not being sarcastic here, I'm really asking. . .
  7. by   gwenith
    The funny part of all of this is that they are the same jokes - just the name changes. I am sure I could post some Kiwi jokes you would recognise as Polish Jokes and the English would recognise as Irish jokes and the Dutch would recognise as Danish jokes. Recently "redneck" has become an almost acceptable substitute for many nationalities indicating more a mythical character rather than a real person - rather like the "Paddy O'malley" of a previous generation.

    At least those outside America think of "redneck" as mythical.....................
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    rofl to me "rednecks" are far from mythical.....that is all I dare say.
  9. by   lil' girl
    Well what I am wondering is can any person tell a joke that won't offend "someone"?
  10. by   gwenith
    Animal jokes are safe - I think - that is unless PETA has decided that telling animal jokes will hurt their feelings and therefor they should be banned.
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    rofl to me "rednecks" are far from mythical.....that is all I dare say.

    Yep, my husband is NOT a mythical character. And the truth is my kids haven't fallen far from the tree no matter how hard I've tried to be the voice of reason

    This is a difficult area to define due to everyone being so different. The things that offend me would make some of you laugh me off as too sensitive. And I would venture that I would think some of you were too sensitive.

    The truth is . . .there is always a bit of truth in humor. And there's the rub. It cuts to close to home for some of us.

    Maybe the answer is be careful but don't put duct tape over your mouth. And if you find you have offended someone, don't laugh them off. Just apologize.

    Life is too short to hurt people's feelings.

    stpeh
  12. by   gwenith
    Quote from stevielynn
    Yep, my husband is NOT a mythical character. And the truth is my kids haven't fallen far from the tree no matter how hard I've tried to be the voice of reason

    This is a difficult area to define due to everyone being so different. The things that offend me would make some of you laugh me off as too sensitive. And I would venture that I would think some of you were too sensitive.

    The truth is . . .there is always a bit of truth in humor. And there's the rub. It cuts to close to home for some of us.

    Maybe the answer is be careful but don't put duct tape over your mouth. And if you find you have offended someone, don't laugh them off. Just apologize.

    Life is too short to hurt people's feelings.

    stpeh
    Very true stpeh very true Sorry Mate - couldn't help meself today!!!!
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from gwenith
    Very true stpeh very true Sorry Mate - couldn't help meself today!!!!
    I usually catch that . . .I do it quite often.

    :chuckle

    steph
  14. by   lil' girl
    Quote from gwenith
    Animal jokes are safe - I think - that is unless PETA has decided that telling animal jokes will hurt their feelings and therefor they should be banned.
    :chuckle Are you talking about hurting the animals feelings or hurting the feelings of people that love animals??

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