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ABSTRACT/RESUME Because of both cultural and technological changes, North Americans are currently exposed to an unprecedented amount of ethnic-based humour, much of which is "insider" joking coming from members of various groups who use it as a means to develop and reflect group pride. Special interest groups including feminists, gays, and disabled people have followed the lead of ethnic groups in creating their own humour as a replacement for hate speech. As more of this humour is created and put into the public arena, people are beginning to realize that there are tremendous differences within ethnic groups, and much of the humour focuses on revealing these differences. Another realization is that while particular ethnic groups have common characteristics that make their humour unique, for example, the language play of bi- or multi-lingual Jews, the native traditions carried over from West Africa by slaves, actions of American Indian clowns and tricksters, and the magical realism that is part of Hispanic cultures, the "ethnic" humour that becomes popular with mainstream audiences has been "Americanized." It is as if mainstream audiences do not really want ethnic values to be the main ingredient. Instead, they want ethnicity to serve as a spice to lend new flavour to old jokes or even as frosting that will hide the fact that the humour is coming largely from the perspective of mainstream listeners or readers.

Essais et sciences humaines
22 mars
Canadian Ethnic Studies Association

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