Punchlines: The Case for Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Humor

By Leon Rappoport | Go to book overview

1
The Sword and Shield Metaphor
and Other Perspectives

At its best, humor simultaneously hurts and heals, makes one larger from
a willingness to make oneself less.

Louis Kronenberger

The sword and shield metaphor has been used by more than one writer on stereotype humor because people typically think of stereotype humor as a weapon designed to ridicule and insult minority groups. All too often this has been true, but it is also true that such humor can be a shield serving the interests of minority groups. Most of us, scholars included, are not aware of this. Lois Leveen, for example, claimed that when doing research for an article on multiethnic literature, it came to her as a “shocking discovery” that jokes may be an effective way for people to demonstrate pride in their group identity. In short, depending on its context, such humor can be offensive, aimed at ridicule of a stereotyped group; defensive, aimed at protecting the group from ridicule; or both. Consider this not-very-funny joke: “Why are Jews not concerned about the abortion controversy? Because they don't consider a fetus to be viable until after it graduates from medical or dental school.” If the teller and the audience are gentiles, it could be taken as antiSemitic, a criticism of Jews for their arrogance and excessive ambition. But if the teller and audience are Jewish, it could be taken as an amusing expression of Jewish pride in the high standards they set for their children.

Lois Leveen cites another relevant joke concerning the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, when African Americans in the South were prevented from voting because registration required them to pass a difficult literacy test. After a highly educated black man manages to satisfy all the requirements, the reg

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Punchlines: The Case for Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Humor
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 184

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.