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Racism in Comedy and Entertainment Essay

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Racism in comedy is not what it appears to be. What many consider to be racist in comedy routines, is not so. Racism is by definition a “hatred or intolerance of another race or other races,” (Dictionary.com). Stand up comedians known to touch heavily on the subject of race in their shows, such as Sarah Silverman and Dave Chappelle, should not be labeled as racist. They are just using the issue of racial stereotypes for its comedic value. “...Instead of discussing race, rape, abortion, incest, or mass starvation, they parody our discussions of them,” (Anderson). A possible reason such comedians are often labeled as racist is probably because the subject of race is still a very sensitive issue in today's society, which causes the public to act negatively to making fun of it. Because of the hostility caused by it, many would rather have it banned from comedy all together. But there are multiple reasons why such material in comedy should be accepted and allowed to continue as a comedic source. Topics of racism, prejudice, and stereotypes can be acceptable in comedy and entertainment because it provides commentary of society's views, exposes the absurdity of stereotypes, and it promotes communication of the subject.
One reason racism and prejudice are acceptable in entertainment is they give a commentary of racial differences and present how each group views one another. Stand-up comedians such as Dave Chappelle and Sarah Silverman expose how they feel their demographic is being viewed. Sarah Silverman especially uses stereotypes against Jewish persons, like herself, as well as stereotypes against Jewish women to provoke thought and laughter in her acts. By doing this, she exposes what many people are thinking and assume is true. Bu...


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...asy. The way in which these issues are brought to the forefront can effectively generate change. The use of comedy is this way shows how everyone may view each other. When this view is negative, exposing the absurdity of the wrongful views can assist with change. Such touchy subjects can in turn become talked about more for the better and promote communication. With that, its subject can become less sensitive and become lightened and less grave.


Works Cited

Anderson, Sam. "Irony Maiden." Slate Magazine. 10 Nov. 2005. Web. 23 Mar. 2010. .
"racism." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 22 Mar. 2010. .
Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google Making Us Stupid." Text Messages. Ed. Reggie J. Poché, Kim C.McDonald, Sarah DeBacher. Southlake: Fountainhead Press, 2008. 45-52.


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