Benefits of cross-community joking?

A University Of Ulster study argues for that banter in the workplace helps with cross-community relationships:

“banter, which included references to one’s community background, was a potentially very useful communication practice in many organisations, in facilitating and easing relationships.”

It calls for an end to no banter policies. Full report here (pdf file).

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Feck off you big fat prod.

  • fair_deal

    Who you calling fat?

  • barnshee

    What are these morons on?
    Don’t even think about astupid remark will cost the employer anything up to £75000 and the idiot who spoke (if a manager) liable personally sys £15000.

    Its a PC world

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Fait Deal,

    you – you big fat, ugly Prod – you stupid as well.


    PC – Protestant/Catholic

  • fair_deal

    I’ll have you know my constant parading keeps me trim

  • Dublin voter

    From the report: “When asked what they believed the word banter meant, all of the participants had difficulty defining it. However, the consensus was that banter was associated with humour, and importantly it was defined as a two-way process.”

    I’d say this is a difficult one for any employment. My first reaction would be that yes, banter would be positive and could help build positive relationships. But it’s all about context. A wisecrack I make one day might get a laugh and a response in kind. If I make the same wisecrack on another day (e.g. a day after some ugly sectarian experience for my colleague that I mightn’t even be aware of…), I might get a smack in the gob and the two of us land in the company’s grievance process.
    But if we can’t have a joke and a laugh, we might as well give up. I give up!!

  • susan

    lollol @ ITSMWDI and fair deal.

  • Dec

    “banter, which included references to one’s community background, was a potentially very useful communication practice in many organisations, in facilitating and easing relationships.”

    Howard Wells and Raymond Kennedy were unavailable for comment.

  • In others news, scientists have discovered that bears shit in the woods.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Fair Deal,

    not down my street it wont.

  • fair_deal

    How do you know? We don’t always wear the collarettes we’re that cunning we are

  • Dublin voter

    Sammy, FD would only march down your street if he needed to practice for a crack at Bolt’s 100m record.

  • x

    I have always believed that our community problems were made worse by the enforced silence brought about by the claim culture aided and abetted by the Fair Employment/neutral working environment nonsense.

    Amazingly in factories where I worked prods and Catholics could and did banter about everything football, sport in general cars, women – men, world politics, English politics etc etc but never anything local. Nor did they talk about it.

    What always amazed me was when I had a quiet word with anyone touching on politics or parades especially both sides didn’t see the problem being with their friends and colleagues from the other tradition who they worked with. basically natural discussion and banter had been closed down to the detriment of acceptance each other as we were.

  • eranu

    banter, or sleggin to give it its real name, is a fine art. in the work place i would have thought that it could only be done between people who are already fairly friendly with each other. it might be funny to sleg a prod about his traditional route from his desk to the photo copier, or sleg a catholic about needing a memo translated into irish because he doesnt speak english. or something along those lines. but if someone i didnt really know started giving me a sleggin about something id be more inclined to knock their pan in !

    “was a potentially very useful communication practice in many organisations, in facilitating and easing relationships.”

    i think they are a bit dislocated from real life. they are probably the same people who came up with a sign i saw about the bill of rights. something along the lines of “loads of children are in poverty….. thats why we need a bill of rights” ummmm, what??

    the best way to facilitate and ease relationships is to have a night out on the beer. a night at that new dog track in drumbo would be a good starting point. after you’ve got to know your work mates over a pint, then you can have a laugh with each other with a bit of sleggin.

  • Tazia Doll

    I think the IRA should do a Village People style video, ‘sex over the phone’ kind of show. We need to break down the heteronormative corporate stereotypes.

  • Llamedos

    His Holiness the Pope is a Prod. in this province. He did not attend a Roman Catholic Primary School so!!. The demolition of political correctiveness will come. The British Isles’ inhabitants are to shrewd to suffer regulation by a bunch of under achieving no hopers which all these job’s worth quangos are full of. A totally inept, unimaginative, talentless bunch of useless nonentities who are all in danger of going prematurely blind.

  • eranu, I thought banter was good-humoured whereas slegging was disparaging put-down.

  • k

    I work in an FE college. In order to maintain a ‘neutral working environment’, the management have banned ‘any emblems or items which might be associated with one community in the recent conflict’. OK, no rangers and celtic jerseys but where do we draw the line?
    Are Carrols fags a symbol that you’re a taig? Do we ban Kilkeel accents because that means you’re a Prod?
    Surely neutrality doesn’t mean that we ban everything in an attempt to sanitise our workplaces. Surely it means that the Artur Boruc sticker on one sports bag is balanced by the Northern Ireland jersey on the next guy.
    Neutrality should mean valuing and respecting all cultures (within reason!), not banning any visible sign of difference.

  • Tazia Doll

    I think we should ban people who are ‘reaching out’ and ‘extending the hand of friendship’, that’s very provocative.

  • eranu

    nevin, you have a point there. i suppose theres a fine line between a bit of sleggin that everyone in the group gets a laugh from, and going too far and offending someone and probably making yourself look bad. i find that how far you can go and still get a laugh from everyone without offending, depends on how well you know the person/people.
    im not sure how banter along norn iron lines could be anything other than a bit of sleggin though. do you have any sort of banter in mind that isnt a bit sleggy?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    An English guy is screwing an Irish girl. The girl asks, “You haven’t got aids have you?”

    He replies, “No.”

    She responds, “Oh, thank fuck for that!! I don’t want to get that again…!”

  • eranu, I found some of the slegging by Belfast ones very aggressive and it seemed to be a bit of a one-way tool used to sort out the pecking order in a group.

    Banter IMO needs a light humorous touch and a sense of balance for the backwards and forwards exchange to be effective; it’s closely allied to crack.

    Folks also need to be in the mood for banter. A young female friend of mine said something the other day which was open to misinterpretation; I smiled but said nothing; she thought, “Why’s he saying nothing?”; and then the penny dropped; and then the conversation resumed it’s normal pace; I say ‘conversation’ but, really, I’m a very good listener 🙂

    Old fashioned banter was a very different beast!!

    The humble Reptile fand some Pain Thus to be banter’d with Disdain.

    I believe he darena for clipock his wife, wha’s element is to banter a’ the beggars frae her door.