So Johnnys in class one mornin
little black boy Raymond comes walkin in and hes all smiles ear to ear and he tells Johnny, he says, my daddy got a new car yesterday, and Johnny, guess what his horn sounds like? And Johnny says, I dunno, whats his horn sound like? Raymond says, well, when daddy pushes that horn, it says haaaawnky. [informant laughs]. Now, he thought that was pretty funny. Johnny just kind of looks at him, and Johnny says, Raymond, that aint nothin. My daddy got a chainsaw and when he starts that thing up it says, runnnnnn nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga.
(Note: Joke makes much more sense when heard. See audio file).
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 its just funny, were 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 didnt want to be there as much as we didnt want them there. He claims that much of the conflict was two sided, a kind of mutual racism.
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 that in previous generation, subtle racism does still exist. Furthermore, this joke uses pejorative terms for both white people and black people (being honky for white people and nigger for black people), but the fact that the white person wins in the end shows an attempt to assert racial superiority. Simultaneously, the joke implies that white people are not the only perpetrators of racial stereotypes, perhaps in an attempt to justify these racist ideas.