They say that every stereotype contains a smidgeon of truth. Well, unfortunately but this is mostly true. Especially when looking at racial or religious stereotypes, up to a point of course. You can recognize if someone believes in those truth facts behind stereotypes based on whether they will use the infamous sentence: “No offense but…” As soon as someone says that, be prepared for the most heinous racial blurs in your life. On the other hand though, in a mild manner and keeping it simple fun, stereotypes can be funny.
Thanks to modern day “neo-nazi” movements even the simple and humble jokes that contain a healthy dose of stereotypical fun are viewed as dropping a nuclear bomb on an orphanage. Seriously, just because someone thinks that jokes about the Christian church are funny does not automatically make that person Satan’s grandmother. Ease up there Mr. Stuckup, if we wanted to insult you, be certain that you would know.
Crossing the line is not hard at all, and that is why you should know where to draw that line. Also, be prepared for counter measures. Just because you know a few juicy jokes, it does not mean that the other person will not. Everyone knows a dozen or so, EVERYONE. Do not try to deny or hide it. We all need a good laugh and why not laugh about something that is true to some degree? As they say: “It’s funny ‘cus it’s true!” And no, when we do tell a stereotypically induced joke, we do not mean to offend, we simply aim to entertain; even if it means to point the fun-gun at ourselves. He who gets offended can suck on a lemon. In the end, it is all fun and games.
However, playing the stereotype card can get old very fast. It might be funny at first, but after a while it is a justification and a reminder why the stereotype was created in the first place. Other than that, nobody likes to listen to the same thing over and over again, especially if it is kind of offensive. Worst of all, nobody likes to be reminded of that particular thing that everybody thinks is true but you are ever so desperately trying to prove is not true. Moreover, when you remind them of their own stereotypes or mention their own faults, it is like you are Hitler reincarnated. If you can dish it, then also take it.
Once in a while, even messed up jokes can be funny, so can stereotypes. But we should keep them as such and not overexert their meaning. Being nice is not hard at all.