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A rhetorical discourse analysis of online anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic jokes

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Constructed with linguistic devices that resemble metaphor and other rhetorical devices, humour has the inbuilt ability to support racism in various readings. Through a discourse analysis of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic jokes, this article outlines the connections between humorous and serious racism. It explains how online humour expresses two logics of racism: social inclusion and exclusion. Stereotypes and inferiorization are used in combination and separately to form ‘acceptable’ inclusive images in jokes. Where jokes depict exclusion, this is achieved through images of removal, violence or death. Although the stereotypes and exclusions of Muslims and Jews presented in the jokes are not the same, having both different histories and different trajectories in relation to contemporary racializations, it is argued that the underlying logic of racism is the same. This logic, in particular readings, supports the hard and extreme right-wing views of some of the websites, although the jokes are open to other interpretations as well.

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