Tag Archives: Comedy

“An Excuse to Get to be Racist”: “White Fragility” Author Issues Warning on the Dangers of The Comedy, by Jonathan Turley

The more America becomes a bad joke, the less its people laugh. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.com:

Mark Twain once said that “A sense of humor is the one thing no one will admit to not having.” Twain observation came to mind this week when Robin DiAngelo warned that “Comedy is . . . an excuse to get to be racist.” It appears that DiAngelo is moving from “White Fragility” to white comedy. The remarks of the author of the book “White Fragility” were carried on the Wisconsin-based non-profit Mythinformed. DiAngelo singled out “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” as racist entertainment. For free speech advocates, the comments are concerning given the crackdown in other countries on comedians.

DiAngelo explained how comedy is a dangerous gateway for racism:

“Comedy is, I think, an excuse to get to be racist, right? I think TV shows like ‘Family Guy’ and ‘South Park’ and maybe a little bit ‘The Simpsons’ allowed White people to be racist self-consciously. Like, ‘I know I’m being racist and therefore it doesn’t count and it’s OK.’ I don’t think it’s benign to do it in a joking way. And there is a concept in comedy called punching up, not down. So if you want to punch up, there are very different power dynamics and it doesn’t hurt in the same way. It doesn’t invoke a deep, deep centuries-long history of oppression when you poke fun at say, White people. But it’s very, very different when you poke fun at people of color.”

Thus, comedians would be allowed to “puke fun at say White People,” but not people of color.

Notably, years ago, it was the Bush family condemning shows like The Simpson and Family Guy. The media widely panned them for the criticism and reminded them that this was just a comedy show.

Such suggestions have become effective commands in other countries. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in Europe (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. ( here and here and here).  Scotland and other countries are adopting even broader rules that could eviscerate comedic entertainment.

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