View Full Version : Characters making jokes about their own race/ethnic group/home region/country?

Morwen Edhelwen
01-09-2012, 04:21 AM
Would anyone feel comfortable having a protagonist making jokes about their own race in a book? In real life I sometimes hear members of my family (Chinese) and some of my friends (East Asian as well) make comments about Chinese people/other East Asian ethnic groups that (in the case of my family/other East Asians- I'll occasionally make a comment as well) would be racist if they came from a White person. This doesn't happen very often in my experience but I've heard people do it. So what are posters' feelings about this in a book?Is this considered racist if the character says something like (example) "Apparently we're savages to the people from the lower 49th. We all live in igloos and ride on dogsleds. Like we never heard of modern technology." (BTW- quoted sentence isn't going to appear anywhere. And this thread isn't only limited to jokes poking fun at ethnic stereotypes. It also includes generalisations of the kind that could be considered racist/stereotypical of a particular region/neighbourhood/country/city etc. I'm not talking about a person making jokes about other races/ethnic groups. Just their own)

The Lonely One
01-09-2012, 04:35 AM
As real racism appears in fiction all the time, I think the clearly anti-racist sentiments of your example wouldn't present any more of a problem. It wouldn't bother me.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-09-2012, 04:37 AM
Thanks. As I said, that comment isn't going to appear anywhere, but something similar will.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-09-2012, 07:24 AM
Anyone have other opinions?

01-09-2012, 07:27 AM
Garrison Keillor has made an entire lucrative career out of doing this. A hell of a lot depends on the character of the humor.