Jumping off from the freaky Michael Richards explosion, Dennis Perrin cogitates on one of the most difficult comedic endeavors: Laughing At Or With Hate?
Racism exists and probably will always exist in some form because humans possess tribalistic minds. The various social divisions we tolerate and help to enforce take on different features, depending on the level of society and the immediate need for distinction. It can be institutional or personal, but we all do it, no matter how “good” our overall intentions. At best, we can water it down over time, as Martin Amis once put it in relation to his father and to his son. His father was more racist than he, and through exposure, experience and education, his son will hopefully be less racist than he, and so on down the generational line. And that’s just white people we’re talking about here.
…in a comedic context, there is ambiguity, especially if white performers and writers attempt to attack a racist word or set of beliefs. Are white comedians really trying to breakdown and expose hateful attitudes, or are they hiding behind the Rush/Coulter dodge?