Who is Allowed to Laugh?

Posted: February 11, 2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

This is the question from Tami Winfrey Harris in a post on Racialicious. She basically asks when do racial jokes cross the line.

My question is, is it okay for black folks to laugh at the racial stereotypes often found in comedy? What does it say about us? And what responsibility do black comedians have to censor what they say when their words have the power to influence mainstream perceptions of our race?

(More below the fold) 

Comedy and Satire have a way of bringing serious issues to light so that we can make a positive change. In the same way that we laugh about the paternal attitude of liberal whites in this skit and this one, while we may laugh at the skits, it makes us aware of the times when it is not funny. When the laughing is over, perhaps a person will be more aware of when they are doing such a thing. “Do I really do that?” It stigmatizes the behavior

Similarly, with Chris Rock. I have found some of his skits to be hilarious – especially this one – because he hits on some serious dysfunction that we may even see glorified in other mediums. By lampooning it, it indirectly discourages such behavior.

However, this is how I personally may see it. How does a white person see such a skit? Perhaps they are laughing for a different reason

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