The History Man wrote:
Why not? Given the historical stereotyping and seen in that context, it doesn't change the structure/nature of the joke. Lots of people found the black and white minstrel show or al Jolson entertaining or freak shows for that matter. Doesn't make them correct by current societal standards.
Not a joke I would ever tell these days but when I was at school as a pupil in the 70s I would suggest it wouldn't be considered offensive at all.
Edit: hence no repeats of the extremely popular 'Love Thy Neighbour' sit com.
Well no - but true enough, it was bloody racist - and really, it wasn't that funny. Revisionist appraisal will have you believe the subtle context and underlying narrative were actually sending up racism, but that largely ignores the demographic.
On the other hand, the series that had Alf Garnett in, whilst Warren Mitchell playing a clearly racist (among other things...) character, he truly was more the butt of the joke.
Personally, I'm not for banning or white-washing everything - like the smutty postcards, or the like. But all the same, there very much was a casual racialism in society in previous decades, that very much was prevalent. Whilst it may have seemed very British, all the same it was there, and was ignorance. That now we look back and - largely - recognise it for what it is, isn't political correctness run amok - it's tacit realisation that our older / past / passed relatives were set in their ways and just a bit racist.
That maybe it was merely a product of it's time, and generally accepted and grudgingly tolerated, doesn't mean it was right - it was borne out of ignorance, tradition and dogma - there was no merit to it all.
As to the joke that started this thread - well I'm ambivalent, really - and in general, I don't do the whole no bandwagon to slow thing. All the same, it seems like the sort of thing gag that Alan Partridge would crack, and we'd largely laugh for the same reasons we laughed at Alf Garnett, a few decades previously.
This page intentionally left blank