chapter  27
11 Pages

Joking About Race and Ethnicity

WithStephanie Patridge

This chapter considers empirical evidence that supports the claim that some telling of a racial or ethnic joke harms the joke's target. It also considers some evidence to support the common suspicion that sometimes our joking and being amused is an expression of implicit bias and so an expression of personal racism. The chapter offers a justification for a common thought, that there are some racial and ethnic jokes that white people simply should not tell because their telling is racist, which is independent of issues of personal racism and harm. Some claim that jokes aimed at historically oppressed groups promote prejudice and pernicious forms of discrimination. So, some jokes are default-racist in that the telling and being amused by them in a particular socio-cultural context, except in certain narrowly prescribed circumstances, is racist and should be avoided.