Joke – USA


“Why are there no Mexicans in the Olympics?”
“Because all of the ones that can run, jump, and swim have already come across the border!”

Chris told me that he first heard this joke when he was a sophomore at Westview High School in San Diego.  One of his friends told it to him when they were walking home from school one afternoon.  Because San Diego is so close to the Mexican border it seems natural that the region would have a lot of racist Mexican jokes like this one.  Fortunately, Chris informed me that despite the racist and undeniably offensive humor of this joke, he had many Mexican and Mexican-American friends in high school who were not offended.  As Chris puts it, “Mexican jokes and stereotypes were prominent amongst the kids at his high school because of the diverse demographic of both his community and the city as a whole.”  While this joke is outlandish and ridiculous, one might see how it exploits the notion that Mexicans continue to immigrate into the country.  Furthermore, the joke underscores the fictional, yet someone comical depiction of Mexican immigrants scrambling across the desert border as Americans yell at them and gun shots wiz by.

This joke ties in nicely to the idea of the bluson populaire or popular conceptions or stereotypes that we studied in this class.  Frequently, individuals will make ethnic jokes to highlight stereotypes of different ethnic groups and reaffirm the belief that this world is a battle between “us” and “them” (Lecture 2/12/08).  This joke certainly makes fun of Mexicans and attempts to address the stereotype that all athletic Mexicans would have no reason to stay in their country and would therefore use their abilities to come here.  This is of course completely untrue and largely racist, but does enforce the idea that it is us (America) versus them (Mexico), and to combat this ethnic struggle we must take advantage of them by joking about their country and culture.