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Ethnic Jokes are They a True Reflexion of One's National Identity?

Updated on June 14, 2010
I for one, love fish and chips, and a fun ride on a double decker bus.
I for one, love fish and chips, and a fun ride on a double decker bus.
As they say in Fiddler On The Roof "To Life"
As they say in Fiddler On The Roof "To Life"
Four leaf clovers, the River Dance  Guinness,and all the glories of Ireland.
Four leaf clovers, the River Dance Guinness,and all the glories of Ireland.
To Walk in Paris is to savor life.
To Walk in Paris is to savor life.

Jokes Are Just Another Way of Poking Fun at Our Foibals

Ethnic Jokes are They a True Reflection of One’s National Identity?

I remember many years of ago at a stadium reading the following on a young man’s tee shirt and it really made me wonder about national stereotypes. The joke goes as follows: Heaven is where the police are English, the cooks are French, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian, and everything is organized by the Swiss. Hell is where the police are German, the cooks are English, The mechanics are French, The lovers are Swiss and everything is organized by the Italians.

There you have it, stereotypical thinking, reflected in the ultimate ethnic joke by giving “examples” of what each nationality does best and what is most criticized in each of these countries. One might wonder if there is any truth in these types of generalizations. Yet most ethnic jokes tend to exaggerate what is considered a common fault or virtue of a country or ethnic background. Here are a few examples:

Ø A Frenchman, a German and a Jew are lost in the desert, wandering for hours. The Frenchman says “I’m tired. I’m thirsty. I must have wine.” The German says, “I’m tired. I’m thirsty. I must have beer.” The Jew says, “I’m tired. I’m thirsty. I must have diabetes.

Ø A Brit, a Frenchman and a Russian are viewing a painting of Adam and Eve frolicking in the Garden of Eden. The Brit said, “The look so calm. They must be British.” The Frenchman said “Nonsense. They’re naked, and so beautiful. Clearly, these are French people.” The Russian disagreed, “I don’t think so. They have no clothes, no shelter, they only have an apple to eat, and they are being told this is paradise. They are Russian.”

Ø A Mother was telling a friend about her kids… My daughter married such a nice boy, he lets her stay in bed all day, she doesn’t get up until late, she eats breakfast in bed, and doesn’t do any housework, oh, what a life! The other mother says “My poor son, oh my God did he marry a bitch! She stays in bed all day, she doesn’t get up until late, and she eats breakfast in bed and never does any housework.

Ø Following the assault of a young woman, the police rounded up the usual suspects for a lineup; suddenly, the Polish suspect stepped forward and screamed "That's her!

Ø And you REALLY, REALLY know you're Italian when:. Your grandfather had a fig tree.. You eat Sunday dinner at 2:00. . Christmas Eve . . . only fish.. Your mom's meatballs are the best. .You've been hit with a wooden spoon or had a shoe thrown at you.. Plastic on the furniture is normal. . You know how to pronounce "manicotti" and "mozzarella.". You fight over whether it's called "sauce" or "gravy.". You've called someone a "mamaluke.". And you understand "bada bing"

As shown by these examples, ethnic joke tend to exaggerate certain characteristics of different nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds. That doesn’t infer that everyone that is a member of a particular ethnic background will typify certain characteristics. You will find Frenchmen, who are excellent mechanics and British people, who make the best cuisine for miles around. Yet there are certain traits that are typical of members of a certain cultures. Jewish mothers are known for being very proud of their children. Irish men are known for being fond of the drink. Italians do have many family members named after a grandparent. Jokes are just another reflection of how we see one another. Jokes reflect the best and the worse that is our heritage. So next time you hear an ethnic joke involving your nationality try to realize that they are not trying to point a finger at you, but are making a social commentary on what makes you ethnicity special, and unique. Of course when telling jokes involving other people’s backgrounds always do so in good taste, and try to be sensitive to the fact that people are very proud of their heritage. Remember humor is the best medicine, and that is true no matter where you are from.


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    • Internetwriter62 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Thank you Tess for your kind words, I'm glad you liked my hub.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      If only there were more cleevr people like you!


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