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Race and Ethnicity in Popular Humour

  • Dennis Howitt
  • Kwame Owusu-Bempah

Abstract

Both racism and jokes are social and cultural products. The ideology of racism holds that humankind comprises different races which vary in their worth. Racism dictates, explains and justifies who does what to whom, where, when, why and how. Caucasians claim the right to treat other ‘races’ in whatever manner they see fit, including disparagement in the form of jokes. Black people are commonly patronised or insulted under the pretext of humour. Here is an example. A few years ago, a black person was inside a local shop when a man covered in coal dust entered and placed his hand next to the black person’s. He then chanted ‘I wanna be like you, black like you This was objected to on the grounds that, unlike the ‘joker’, he was black and not dirty. Those in the shop joined in the denial of racism: ‘it’s only a joke’, they said, almost in unison. One of them actually counselled him (the victim) to cultivate a sense of humour in order to ‘get on in this world’. This is not a hypothetical example. The incident involved one of the authors of this chapter.

Keywords

Black People Black Family Jewish People Racial Stereotype Black Person 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Dennis Howitt and Kwame Owusu-Bempah 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis Howitt
  • Kwame Owusu-Bempah

There are no affiliations available

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