I was quite intrigued with the group's presentation today. Racist and sexist humor in the media have been on my mind lately. There was an interesting question posed at the end that, unfortunately, we didn't have time to discuss much. The question was: does racist and sexist humor merely perpetuate stereotypes in the media or does it point out the fact that stereotypes are ridiculous?
I'm kind of on the fence on this one. I think it depends on a couple of factors. First of all, it obviously depends on the joke. Jokes like the one that was brought up in class: "What's strong enough for a man but made for a woman? The back of my hand" obviously cross the line. Anything that depicts anybody being the victim of violence is never appropriate in my mind. Plus, it just isn't funny. Guys who make jokes like that, even if they aren't violent towards women, are just losers to me. Come up with something funny. That's just wrong and lame.
When Chappelle's Show was on the air, I did not miss an episode. It was just so ballsy and edgy to me. My friend once told me he didn't like that show because all Dave Chappelle did was make fun of white people. I couldn't believe what I heard! Had he ever seen the show? I think Chappelle made fun of his own race more than any other race. Plus, he took shots at everyone. No one was safe, and that's what kept me coming back. Chappelle took ridiculous stereotypes and magnified them in an effort to show the world how stupid stereotypes are. Educated people got the joke, and I think Chappelle did a lot of good to open peoples' eyes. He certainly opened mine. But unfortunately a lot of people are stupid. They see Chappelle on TV portraying these stereotypes about different races and take it as truth. That's one of the reasons why Chappelle quit the show when it was at its apex.
So I guess my point is that I see racist jokes and sexist jokes differently. I hardly see any value in sexist jokes. To me, they are just unfunny for the most part and less than progressive. I think of an uneducated backwoods hillbilly stuck in the 1950s coming up with all these jokes and burdening us with them. Racist jokes, I think, can be have a positive effect if used correctly. It can open people's eyes to ways in which they subconsciously act around other races. But it can have the same effect as a sexist joke if it is mean-spirited and/or the listener is too stupid to really get it.
And it's a shame because I sure miss Chappelle's Show.