Race Relations in Comedy

Analyze the way racial stereotypes are utilized in comedic settings such as Chappelle’s Show. Are racial stereotypes permissible when used for comedic effect, and perpetrated by members of the race being stereotyped? Do these representations bring light to social justice issues, or further engrain harmful thought patterns? Is is possible to do both?

  • Interesting and very relevant topic. However, I think a more fruitful approach would be to look at both sides of the spectrum. We live in a society that has become very attuned and sensitive when it comes to comedy/jokes surrounding race, language, gender, and sexuality. There's actually a lot of excellenty articles examining how comedy (especially the standup variety) is dying because people simply cannot "take a joke". If you're going to pursue this topic I would urge you to look at both these spectrums and see if a happy medium can be found, or if one will have to concede to the other in order for the genre to survive. You could even extend beyond the Chappelle's Show to comedic forms in writing, etc. – Mela 7 years ago
  • Historically, comedy has always had racial undertones. Telling a joke at another's expense is nothing new. Neither is intolerance. What is new is the backlash comedians face when an audience perceives they have crossed the line. People can get on social media and the comedian can be ostracized. That being said, I think you have posed your questions well. "Can joking about stereotypes actually perpetuate the stereotypes?" Great thought provoking question. Comedians of colour such as Chris Rock and Russell Peters have answered these questions in interviews and would be worth taking a look at for this article. – Munjeera 7 years ago

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