Racist jokes 'are OK'

Blacks, Muslims and gays deemed fair targets

Most Britons still think it's perfectly acceptable to joke about blacks, Muslims or gay people.

And the French and Irish are even more popular targets, with 63 and 61 per cent of people thinking they were fair game.

Next came the Chinese, with 52 per cent thinking jokes targeting them were acceptable. The figure is significant as it comes in the wake of MP Ann Winterton's comments about the death of 20 cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay. She was expelled from the Conservative party for her joke involving a shark saying: 'Fancy going to Morecambe for a Chinese?'

Just over half of those quizzed thought jokes about blacks, Muslims or gay people were OK, but most drew the line at jokes about the disabled - although 30 per cent still believed they were acceptable targets.

Half of all Britons have heard a bad-taste joke about the Morecambe Bay tragedy, with one in four people cracking one. Sick jokes are also twice as popular with men than women, according to the YouGov survey for the Mail on Sunday.

And in another blow to the alternative comedy movement, 82 per cent of people said they would still laugh at mother-in-law gags.

Published: 28 Feb 2004

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