Black Comedians and Racism in Society Essay

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Black Comedians

Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle are two black comedians who use racial humor as a base for their routine. However, I do think that black comedians making fun of blacks (and whites for that matter, as both Rock and Chappelle routinely do) does encourage amalgamation. The reason for this is that in highlighting in a humorous way our differences, comedians can make is feel more comfortable with each other. There is a kind of cathartic experience in having truths told about yourself or your community in a way that is funny. It makes you feel less sensitive or vulnerable, and as everyone is laughing at the same joke there is a feeling of unity or community because the truth is really what unites people in the end. Comedians can say those truths that might be too uncomfortable to say in a formal manner because they add a touch of humanity to it by way of humor. They make us laugh and as the saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine.”

As Schaefer points out in Chapter 9, “inequality is a significant determinant of human behavior” (slide 4). This is relevant to what makes black comedians helpful in the process of amalgamation because they highlight the inequalities and show exactly what it is that makes us different.
Rock in his comedy, for example, highlights his fear of young white students because he doesn’t want to get shot by a “crazy” kid. Implicit in this comedy is the idea that black kids are different from white kids (black kids would be playing basketball not dressing up in trench coats acting like they were in a trench coat mafia). The humor is ironic because of course kids of all races engage in healthy and unhealthy behaviors—but the fact that Rock can make a joke about it that is racial helps us to break down racial barriers and tensions and deal with the real issues that are causing problems in society. The differences are there because we are all different in reality and inequalities are always going to exist. Harping on the inequalities is not a solution, which is why comedians, especially black comedians, are so helpful: they call on society to get over their obsession with differences and inequalities and just accept them and laugh about them because they are true.

Black comedians have more license that white….....

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Works Cited

Rock, Chris. “Chris Rock—Gun Control.” YouTube, 2009.

Schaefer PPT. Chapter 9.

Schaefer PPT. Chapter 10.

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