An ethnic joke is a remark attempting humor relating to an ethnic, racial or cultural group, often referring to an
Perceptions of ethnic jokes are ambivalent. Many find them
The predominant and most widely known theory of ethnic humor attempts to discover social regularities in the anecdote traditions of different countries by contextually describing jokes. Professor
Davies in his monograph published in 1990 has surmised that "Jokes in every country (or reasonably homogeneous cultural and linguistic domain) have certain targets for stupidity jokes – people who dwell on the edge of that nation or domain and who are perceived as culturally ambiguous by the dominant people of the center. In addition, they will likely be rustic people or immigrants in search of unskilled and low-prestige manual work. They are to a great extent similar to the joke-tellers themselves, share the same cultural background or even speak a similar or identical language." According to Davies, ethnic jokes are centered on the three main themes of stupidity, canniness and sexual behavior.
L Perry Curtis in examining ethnic humour aimed at the Irish in Victorian England describes the descent that the ethnic joke and the accompanying stereotype can undergo as the target that they are aimed at descends into depictions of violent behaviour: "My curiosity of 'Paddy's' transformation in comic art from a rather primitive, rustic, or simple-minded peasant to a degenerate man...bent on murder or outrage."
Nevertheless, according to Samuel Schmidt, the ethnic jokes can also be a form of social resistance, and so they are addressed by the joke-tellers against those whom they see as the aggressors, like the multiple jokes published in Mexico about the Americans (also called