Sunday, November 22, 2020

How my grandfather changed his offensive jokes in the 1970s

My grandfather loved jokes, especially those that made fun of such groups as the Irish or Italians. A political conservative, he was also no friend to the social movements that arose from the 1950s on. Yet in the 1970s, even he began to be aware of the limits of his jokes, so he turned his jokes about specific ethnicities into "ethnic jokes" instead. Today, many comedians (usually straight white men) complain about having to worry about offending audiences with their jokes, but when I hear such complaints, I think about my conservative grandfather, who realized he should change his jokes when he began to be told how offensive they could be. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 22 November)

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