This is how I responded:

I can't speak for Latvian jokes specifically...
but I can tell you that, as a person of Polish ancestry, I am unfond of Polack jokes, particularly since the day they almost got me killed, and I tend to extend that dislike to ethnic jokes generally.

When I was in high school, a couple of my friends took early enlistment in the Army, which meant that they palled around some with some enlisted guys, who (among other things) told them where the bars were that didn’t check IDs. Which led to a group of us—all underage—at a bar in Belltown one Friday night, back before the hipsters moved in and started getting it cleaned up. It was a scary part of town.

Dunno if you’ve ever done it, but the protocol for underage drinking in public is not to draw attention to yourself. John, however, did not get that memo, and a couple of beers in, he remembered that I’m Polish and dislike the jokes. So he starts telling them, one after another, each one louder than the last.

“How many Polacks does it take to screw in a light bulb?”
“John, shut up.”
“How does a Polack take a bubble bath?”
“John, shut up.”
“How can you tell when a Polack chick is on the rag?”
“Shut up, John.”
“Why did the Polack cross the road?”
“John, shut up.”

About this time, I noticed the guy in the corner staring at us. The BIG guy in the corner. I can see his white knuckles on his beer glass from across the room, he’s gripping it so hard, and the glare he’s giving us gets a little harder with every joke.

“Did you hear about the Cessna that crashed in the Polish cemetery?”
“Johnnnn…”

Finally, the guy can’t stand it any more, and blows to his feet, sending the table flying. He’s even bigger than I thought, well over six feet and two-seventy, two-eighty pounds, easy. He smashes his glass down on the floor and storms out. The barkeep comes over and starts sweeping up the glass shards, and John asks, at full volume, “Hey! What was THAT guy’s problem?”

The barkeep gives John The Look and says, “He’s Polish, and he REALLY doesn’t like Polack jokes. You kids better be gone by the time he gets back here.”

John was all, “but I haven’t finished my beer”, but we dragged him out of there anyway and headed for the cars.

Unfortunately, the big Polack apparently parked the same place we did, because as we walked around the corner, we practically ran into him—he was coming back with a full head of steam and a razor.

And I am completely convinced that I would not be here today if he’d managed to find a place to plug it in.
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