Just Joking? Essay

Just Joking? Essay

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Hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan are often seen as a serious highly threatening group and even though the Ku Klux Klan is considered a threatening group; most people do not realize the extent to which humor can affect negative views of groups like the Ku Klux Klan. According to an article done by Billig (2001) on sites that contained African American jokes that were advertised as just jokes and not to be promoting violence; these jokes contained words and phrases pertaining to extreme racist hatred. These sites also contained links to Ku Klux Klan sites and it is believed by Billing (2001) that the racist hatred portrayed in these jokes actually promotes negative beliefs and even violence towards African Americans. This example of humor being used to affect beliefs of specific groups of individuals is an extreme but often jokes that may seem to be harmless, could actually be negatively affecting an individual’s viewpoint of the group the joke is directed towards. This study will test the effect of jokes directed towards specific groups on the viewpoints of perceivers of these jokes. Specifically, it is predicted that jokes that negatively portray a specific group will also negatively affect the perceiver’s viewpoint of that group within specific characteristics of the individual.
Theories, Terms and Scales
In the study done by Crandell and Eshleman (2003), prejudice is operationalized as the negative views of a specific group that are expressed when the prejudice is viewed as more acceptable and is no longer suppressed. Also justification is operationalized to be any evidence, whether it is psychological or social that allows for the expression of a prejudice to be viewed as non-threatening to the individual because they have ...


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...pean Journal of Social Psychology, 31. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.56
Ford, T.E., Boxer, C.F., Armstrong, J., & Edel J.R. (2008). More than “just a joke”: the prejudice-releasing function of sexist humor. Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 34 (2), 159-170. doi: 10.1177/0146167207310022
Hobden, K.L., & Olson, J.M. (1994). From jest to antipathy: disparagement humor as a source of dissonance-motivated attitude change. Basic and applied social psychology, 15 (3), 239-249.
Hodson, G., Rush, J., & MacInnis, C.C. (2010). A joke is just a joke (except when it isn’t): cavalier humor beliefs facilitate the expression of group dominance motives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99 (4), 660-682. doi: 10.1037/a0019627
Thomas, C.A., & Esses, V.M. (2004). Individual differences in reactions to sexist humor. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 7 (1), 89-100.

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Just Joking? Essay

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