The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Case No. 2,134


"We don't understand why we are the one ethnic group that it's still permissible to make fun of."

That's the deputy executive director of the Sons of Italy Commission for Social Justice, complaining about a short film that won a Coca-Cola "Refreshing Filmmaker Award." The film had Mafia types harassing movie viewers.

Read more about it here, and then check out "E Pluribus Umbrage," Reason's take on the antidefamation industry.

NEXT: If You're So Smart, Why Ain't Ya Rich?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. thoreau – That kind of reasoning could (and should) be used for most other “oppressed minorities.” Black people in America used to be slaves, now they’re oppressed when people say “Using the word ‘nigger’ is bad.” It’s true that there are still oppressed people in the world, but not many of them live in the US.

  2. As a person who enjoys making fun of others based on their race or ethnic origin I would have to say that people complain about my group more than any other. Therefor I would have to say that us smartasses are the most oppressed group.

  3. Actually,the last acceptable prejudice is against the Welsh.You can use the slurring verb “to welsh” in just about any newspaper without much consequence.I’ve corrected the Newark Star-Ledger here in NJ and their mediocre “conservative” columnist Paul Mulshine as well,and they’ve stopped the practice,but not without a lot of grumbling about it.

  4. I thought the Poles were the recepients of the “last acceptable prejudice.”

  5. You are correct, Jean Bart. Those of us of Polish descent (also a white male, also a (recovering) Catholic) are quite openly on the receiving end of jokes. Dennis Miller is particularly bad about this. Ah, well, I don’t particularly care, except when somebody else starts whining about how aweful it is to be the ‘last’ such group. Weenies.

  6. I think the Polish jokes dried up in the country quite a bit after the spectacle of Lech Walesa and Solidarity in the early ’80s.

  7. We Italians are the one ethnic group that it’s still permissible to make fun of for very simple reasons: we are greasy and stupid.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s still “permissible” to make fun of any ethnic group. My guinea brother is clearly conflating permission with lack of criticism.

  8. Poor baby.

    I would say that there is one very large ethnic group that is still fair game – white males. One can scarcely watch a commercial or TV show these days without seeing that white males, and for the most part only white males, are the butt of every joke, and are routinely portrayed as buffons.

  9. What I’m offended about is this claim that EVERY divisive group is the last “permissable” group to make fun of.

    Senator Zell Miller claims that rednecks are the “last” group that people can make fun of.

    Bible-thumping Christians claim that THEY are the “last” group that people can make fun of.

    Conservatives claim that THEY are the “last” group that people can make fun of.

    Arab-Amercians have been claiming that THEY are the “last” group that people can make fun of ever since Chuck Norris did that whole “Delta Force” movie back in the 80’s.

    Blondes claim that THEY are the “last” group that people can make fun of.

    Native Americans claim that THEY are the “last” group that people can make fun of.

    Well I’m sorry, but all those groups are nothing but a bunch of whiney posers! You know why? Because everone in the UNIVERSE know that the one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eaters are THE LAST group that can be made fun of! So all you other groups get a life and stop trying to take away our one claim to fame!

  10. Who makes fun of Native Americans?

    easily: “Bible-thumping Christians claim that THEY are the “last” group that people can make fun of.” Actually, it’s worse. Bible thumping Catholics and bible thumping evangelicals each claim that they, exclusively, are the last such group.

  11. Fair enough. But I’m thinking of characters in the media, which are being created today, not just obsolete logos.

  12. Another never challenged prejudice is that towards youth.

    Think of all the people who call something they don’t like “juvenile” or “childish” and youth are the only group where stereotypes still flow like water.

  13. Speaking as a Catholic, I can relate to the notion of whiny Catholics claiming we’re so oppressed.

    I remember several years ago I was at dinner with some people from a church group. Some people started complaining about some article critical of the church, and we’re oh-so-persecuted.

    I thought to myself “Hmm, we used to be tossed to lions, now we just get some bad articles in the LA Times. Yeah, we’re real persecuted. Uh-huh.”

  14. Atheists get a pretty bum deal in the U.S.

    When George Bush was campaigning for the presidency, as incumbent vice-president, one of his stops was in Chicago, Illinois, on August 27, 1987. At O’Hare Airport he held a formal outdoor news conference. There Robert I. Sherman, a reporter for the American Atheist news journal, fully accredited by the state of Illinois and by invitation a participating member of the press corps covering the national candidates, had the following exchange with then-Vice-President Bush.

    Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

    Bush: I guess I’m pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

    Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

    Bush: No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

    Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

    Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on atheists.

    If the current Vice-Prez of the country said something like that about any other group of people, he’d be flayed alive by the press.

  15. Then why do so many people try to make themselves look younger?

  16. Brendan,

    Well, I’ve never been Italian or blonde, for example, but I have been young. Everybody goes through youth, so I think those of us who have been younger and more foolish have earned the right, since we are not as young and (more importantly) not quite as foolish now. Who was it who said, “The problem with youth is that it is squandered on the young?”

    Enjoy. You’ll be in the throes of middle-age soon enough…

  17. “Help! Help! I’m bein’ oppressed!”

  18. one other acceptable prejudice (may have been mentioned, I haven’t read down) is Gypsies (to “gyp”!) but — considering their history, the epithet might just fit the situation better than political correctness for ANYONE’s victim-side permits…

  19. There are a lot of groups folks laugh at. There aren’t near that many they pass laws against. Two that spring to mind are gun owners and homosexuals.

  20. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 03:53:03
    We are as God made us, and often a great deal worse.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.