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View Diary: Racism in plain view (18 comments)

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  •  nah, I think you are wrong (1+ / 0-)
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    Oh Mary Oh

    when I was a kid, I was taught the difference between laughing "at" someone and laughing "with" someone.

    Borat (mentioned in another, similarly dissenting comment) is the exceptional comedian that can take you inside the joke with him and everyone laughing knows they are laughing at the absurdity of racism, rather than laughing at the object of racial scorn.  Borat is probably capable of devising some hilarious comedic construct involving the very worst anti-Semitic tropes.  But the key would be that the people laughing in the theaters - unlike the people in the stadium cheering as Borat praised America for blowing up his people so effectively before he sang the national anthem, or the kids on the bus laughing at along and extending the remarks of Borat's racist character - would be in on the joke and laughing at the racists/bigots.

    I have no problem with laughing at bigotry.  But I don't like bigoted humor that victimizes the powerless by perpetuating and validating stereotypes.  Especially when it's presented to children.

    I may be reducing your argument to much, but taken to it's logical extent, it sounds like you'd be fine with n-word jokes.  Or maybe not.  Maybe you'd hate n-word jokes, but be fine if we substituted the word "African-American".   But of course you wouldn't.  So... I'd be interested in hearing your response, because I think a lot of folks that don't see racism in these types of character portrayals would see it if the jokes happened to come at the expense of African-Americans.

    Was never very good at math. Oddly, though, I can count by twos if I start at the number 1.

    by Mike Stark on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 09:48:32 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  pretty sure I suggested that if something is (0+ / 0-)

      deliberately MEAN than I have an issue with it.

      If I were fine with 'n word' jokes, I'd have to be fine with people throwing out the k*ke word too, wouldn't I?

      Ray Bradbury, in a foreword to Farenheit 451, wrote a scathing indictment on the overuse of cultural/political/social sensitivity with respect to the suppression of creative inspiration.  I agree with him wholeheartedly.  With respect to your discussion of the 'n' word--I have no respect for that publishing company that opted to censor it out in Huckleberry Finn.. None.

      In any case, the examples you give, while they are stereotypical in some respects, are generally positive--and it's easy enough for parents to  talk to their kids about portrayals, stereotypes, where they come from, what they mean, and how to see people as individuals.

      With respect to African Americans--what of Good Times?  Jeffersons?  Lots of stereotypes in there--does it matter whether the directors/actors were black or white?  

      If the humor is NOT ill-intended...roll with the punches
      you say yourself--laugh 'with' but not 'at'.  

      It sounds like you're not always comfortable with the distinction there--and sometimes the distinction is pretty subtle.  Because laughing 'with' often MEANS that someone is laughing at themselves, right?

      Further, simply to shield children from anything that might be slightly uncomfortable and pretend it doesn't exist until they're 15 is in itself pretty damaging.

      In closing--if one goes around looking for offense--one will find offense.  

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