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View Diary: Is This Joke Racist? (97 comments)

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  •  Context and intent always matter (2+ / 0-)
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    marykk, lyubansky

    when assessing words.  Some words have power because they represent all of the hate that a particular class of people have suffered.  That is why the word nigger has such power. For others, it is simply the way the words are used, such as attacking Ann Coulter as Man Coulter.  That doesn't hurt Ann (she wants negative attention) but it hurts transgendered people because you are using the idea of transgender as a weapon, as an insult to hit back at whatever offensive thing popped out of her head.

    Things can get complicated quickly though.  If a Black comedian like Dave Chappelle does a skit using racial stereotypes attributed to Blacks, it is to mock the racists and functions to destroy the stereotypes.  If a White comedian does it, it can be seen as promoting a stereotype even if the intent was to destroy, simply because the stereotypes came from White dominated culture.  I think that as we move farther away from the racial divisions, people will be more able to assess a skit without bringing the race of the comedian into it.  This country is moving toward the majority of the population being non-white as more children grow up without the hatred of segregation.  As that happens race no longer is as important as it once was allowing stereotypes to be broken down and used as fodder for comedians of all colors and creeds.

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