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...There's been a bit of a brouhaha, whether deserved or not, over Colbert's use of a particular phrase for his satire of the racism inherent in the Washington football team name, and there's already been a diary about it:

As someone who's had that actually shouted at me (in San Francisco, of all places!) I have some thoughts about this (after the fold).

I did not see the actual bit, only read the transcript.  I suspect I would've reacted a bit more viscerally had it been actually viewing the segment, given that all of the times I've encountered this sort of interaction has been negative.

And amongst colleagues of mine who have experienced the same sort of thing, it's split as well; on one hand it's a cringeworthy example of a type of prejudice that's frankly extremely ugly, and on the other, it's intended as satire.

Putting aside whether right-wing outrage of the use of this term is actually legitimate or not (I suspect not)... I ask myself whether I should be offended or not, and here's the question I think I'd use as the yardstick:

In order to successfully satirize the racism in the original act, using Asians as an example, is there anything else he could have used to really drive the point in?  After all, satire is all about taking something which might be subtly uncomfortable, and pushing the line.  If I'm going to do satire about how greedy someone is, making a reference to Scrooge McDuck swimming in coins highlights the absurdity of it.

The Scrooge McDuck image is good for emphasizing greed because it is greed writ large.

So how do we satirize subtle racism with a term that many people fail to see the racism in it?

We make it overtly racist in a way that everyone can easily identify as racist.

...and therein lies the rub.

I don't think it's possible to do that bit without the stupid harsh term that Colbert used that night.

Give it a shot.  Find something more overtly offensive than "Redskins" but not so offensive that it sets off out-of-context radar.  I don't think you'll find it.

So as far as I'm concerned, that answers the "if he's going to satirize that particular incident, what is the only way it could've been done?" question ...

I haven't spoken to whether he should've done this particular incident, but I suspect the answer to that is yes, because it highlights how ridiculous the charitable contribution aspect seems, in context to the racial insensitivity.

Anyway, that's my "this is me we're talking about" opinion.

EDIT: AAAAHHHHhhhhh... didn't realize it made the reclist; first time here, and I apologize for not being around for this marvelous discussion that's come around this topic.

7:37 PM PT: pgm 01 makes a really good point that I've accidentally hit upon another ethnic slur in my attempt to find something innocuous to make an analogy of:

Apologies about that!

Originally posted to buoren on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 12:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges, White Privilege Working Group, and Way of Dragon.

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