In the contemporary society, aboriginal jokes have ceased to have impact with which they were intended initially. This can be attributed to several factors among them civilization, globalization and formation of multicultural societies as opposed to ancient societies where races played an important role in the jokes boundaries. This has made them to function entirely as sources of humor and not have cynic meaning as they were initially intended to communicate.
There are many factors which can be claimed to have fueled the process of reduction in impact of aboriginal jokes. These factors can be perfectly explained from some sociology theories. From the perspective of globalization, free trade opened up some barriers earlier installed by racial boundaries. This made the people to mingle and in the process, learn from one another. This gradually changed the attitude that people from one race or religion had of the other making the two races appreciate one another. In simple terms, the spirit of co-existence and objectivity developed among the different cultures. This is well illustrated in the sociological theory entitled ‘social interaction’. After many years of intermingling and intermarriages, the jokes originally meant to hurt others became less impulsive and thus lost their meaning. Resulting from these interactions and intermarriages was a multiracial and multicultural society. So as to live in peace within the society, the people changed their perspectives on one another and in the very end had a harmonized approach to one another without any aboriginal jokes of the first kind. This can be well explained from the theory of structural functionalism in sociology (Gerber, 2010).
So as to fully understand why these jokes became useless and meaningless with globalization and civilization, a social conflict theory can be used to explain. Previously, these jokes were borne of deep rooted prejudice and hatred that existed among the people. Civilization and globalization called for harmonization of judgment and equal treatment of people regardless of their origin. This reduced the social conflict and in the current societies, it is almost extinct. This is what has made such jokes lose meaning (Taylor, 2005).
Looking at Canada in particular, aboriginal jokes of the first type are almost inexistent. In this type of jokes, a person or people crack a joke aiming at hurting another person. The best example to illustrate this class of jokes is the jokes made on Indians. From the very beginning, the whites viewed the Indians as inferior people who have little or no say in the presence of the whites. This superiority complex made the whites look down upon the Indians and used the jokes in presence of the Indians so as to hurt them. A good example is the joke by two whites about an Indian. They claim of the drunken Indian and this shows that if this was uttered in presence of the Indians, they would be hurt (Taylor, 2005).
The second type of joke from this text that is very common is the humor jokes in which people talk within their own premises and do not allow outsiders to learn of them. These jokes may make the outsider learn more than required of the people thus are restricted to only one group of people.
The last group is the normal aboriginal jokes. This is the category that our second joke of analysis will come from. In this joke, two men are conversing about the contents of a paper bag. The respondent answers the other man that the wine in the paper bag belongs to his wife. This joke makes both parties happy and does not hurt any person as it is the case with the non-jokes aboriginal jokes (jokes of the first type). These jokes can be cracked at any place thus the restriction observed in the second type of jokes is not present (Taylor, 2005).
In a cross analysis of the Canadian society, globalization has made words like nigger, Swedes and Indians lose value and are used as normal words. In fact, these words do not communicate any prejudice anymore as it was in the original form (Gerber, 2010).
In conclusion, aboriginal jokes can tell a lot about a person. These jokes can reveal prejudice or hatred that exists in a society. Though the American society (Canadian included) is trying its level best to abandon prejudice, some aspects of prejudice still prevail in these jokes. But are jokes not just jokes and not anything serious? Even if they depict some information, are they not just jokes?
Taylor H. 2005. Me Funny, Douglas & Mcintyre Publishers
Gerber M. 2010. Sociology Canadian Ed: Pearson Canada Inc