Humor
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Joke – Racist – African American/Mexican

Joke – Racist – African American/Mexican

“What kind of baby do you get when a black person and a Mexican person have a baby? A baby that’s too lazy to steal.”

The informant made it very clear that he is “not racist” as he told me this joke, as people often do when telling jokes framed around racial stereotypes and conflict. He also made it very clear, before telling me the joke, that it is “really racist.” The informant is fifty years old and from Texas, and has lived there all of his life. He claims that jokes such as this are still used among close friends, but that “it’s just funny, we’re not racists.” He also claims to have “black friends,” as if that serves as some sort of justification or proof that he is not racist. He claims that jokes such as these stem from the racism that existed in the south during his childhood. The informant told me how he remembers when schools were desegregated in the south, and how “the blacks were brought over in busses” to his school. He stated, “they didn’t want to be there as much as we didn’t want them there.” He claims that much of the conflict was two sided, a kind of mutual racism. Furthermore, he claims that the inclusion of a Mexican individual in this joke probably stems from immigration from Mexico to the United States, often to border states such as California and Texas.
I agree that these jokes stem from a generation that experienced extreme racial conflict, but the fact that they are still used implies that they are still considered humorous. The fact that people still find these jokes humorous hints at the state of racism today, and shows that although it is much less prominent than in previous generations, subtle racism does still exist. The addition of a Mexican individual in this joke exemplifies the discomfort that many people feel toward Mexican immigrants, but the fact that they are portrayed as thieves in this joke conveys the stereotype that many Latinos are criminals. Furthermore, the idea of black people being inherently lazy seems to stem from Affirmative Action. Many people, who are usually white, are against affirmative action and other social programs, and believe it makes people who benefit from these things lazy. On some level, this joke serves as a racist critique of society in the context of immigration and social programs that are intended for minorities.

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