A new poll by Middle Tennessee State University finds that nearly one in six Tennesseans has told a joke about President Obama's race. But 57% of Tennesseans told pollsters they would find such a joke "definitely not humorous."
"It seems that Tennessee is awash in jokes about Obama's race even though most people say they don't tell them and most people say they don't find them funny," says Ken Blake, director the MTSU poll. Blake says he and his colleagues set out to quantify attitudes toward racial jokes in the wake of some high-profile gaffes, such as that of Tennessee Republican Chip Saltsman, who distributed CDs of the infamous "Barack the Magic Negro" song.
Blake's poll report says the gap between racial-joke-telling and racial-joke-enjoying suggests people tell racial jokes about the president even though they consider the jokes inappropriate. Or, Blake tells the Huffington Post, "It is possible there is truly a small core of people who broadcast these jokes to everyone else."
The poll report also notes that "African Americans are significantly less likely than whites to characterize jokes about Obama's race as humorous."