Racial stereotypes and the use of satire

Posted on January 5, 2012 by

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I think Jaysmooth’s Ted talk is a really insightful way to look at how racial stereotypes are dealt with in interpersonal communication. As he stated, conversations about race are usually avoided or touched upon in generally superficial ways – like figuring out what racial category you should place someone in. In media, however, it seems like it’s becoming more acceptable to turn against these social paradigms. Websites and videos like stuffwhitepeoplelike and shit white girls say to black girls (which was all over my newsfeed this week), and racial interactions on TV like The Office “Diversity Day” episode show that through satire and humor media may represent an avenue for open and direct discussions about race and stereotypes. In this way, racial satire in media may help to avoid the feeling of being personally attacked. For example, if a stereotype is shown as farcical, then perhaps the stereotype itself will seem absurd to the viewer without them feeling counseled.  I think its important to question, however, if these tactics are really having positive social repercussions. More negatively, playing upon racial stereotypes repeatedly may simply help to perpetuate, remind, or instill us with a stronger sense of them.

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