Is Race the Punchline? Effects of Disparaging Jokes on Intra-Group Members

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2017-04-26

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Abstract

This study researches the reactions of people to disparaging jokes told by Whites and Hispanics. The experiment investigates the race of the listener and the race of the joke-teller presenting racially disparaging jokes. Based on the knowledge that cultural belonging enhances the understanding and appreciation of a joke, the present research seeks to learn more about the relationship between the joke-teller, the joke, and the audience. We displayed videos of the same actor with an accent and without an accent, to represent a Hispanic and White joke-teller respectively, telling jokes about these two races. The Participants then filled out a survey recording how funny they found the joke-teller. This was with the purpose of assessing whether the participants thought the actor who identifies as part of their own group was entitled and justified to make the disparaging joke based on their group affiliation. We predicted that when the audience belonged to the same race as the joke-teller, and the jokes targeted the race as well, there would be a more positive reaction to the jokes and the joke-teller than when the audience was of a different race. We did not find any relevant results to confirm this hypothesis, however we found that the opposite happened. When White participants watched the Hispanic joke-teller saying Hispanic jokes, they found him funnier than Hispanics did. The results obtained will be discussed further in the discussion section.

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Racist jokes, Racial Humor, Disparaging humor, Disparaging jokes, Hispanic in-groups, Hispanic jokes, White jokes, Outgroups, Ingroups, Racism, Modern Racism

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