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Comedian Russell Peters' jokes are controversial in that it is racial - Essay Example

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Name Professor Subject Date Introduction Russell Peters was born on September 29, 1970. His full name is Russell Dominic Peters is born in Toronto, Ontario, and was nourished in Brampton. In 1989, Peters begins the stand-up comedy career in his home town Toronto, Ontario…
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Comedian Russell Peters' jokes are controversial in that it is racial

Download file to see previous pages... Many authors consider him a comedian using every slang term to make audience laugh at the cost of the racial identities. In the subsequent part of this paper, first race and comedy are elaborated and is followed by the analysis of the racist jokes of Peters before summarization. Race and Comedy The race based comedy is not new. In the older times, it was a part of the entertainer’s role to include openly racist stereotypes, degrading the socially deprived groups living within the community with no sign of apology. Undoubtedly, such stereotypes represented the existing realities in which certain races were clearly highlighted as superior to other races. Everyday racism exists in a wide range of interactions (Tator and Henry 27). The racist expressions involve in the many and small ways in which racism is experienced in the manifestations such as anecdotes, behaviors , racialised, sexualized and ethnicised jokes, gestures, glares and glances and in other forms of speech. And, most of the time, not the perpetrator but the victim painfully feels the impacts of the racially based comments. Although racist sentiments may be highlighted in less overt ways in the recent times, some racists use comedy as an ideal tool for mocking ethnic and other minorities. In this regard, Billig contends that if today there are taboos against the outward expression of racism, then the racist joke represents a way of expressing the unsayable (Humor and Hatred 285). Hutcheon argues that humor is not far from hatred, reaching at the level of unambiguous gender or ethnicity stereotypes along with requiring suspension of empathy where the victim being an object of ridicule (268). Humor consists of complex connotations. Hutcheon states that humor represents paradoxes as the utterance of humor may leave opposite pragmatic effects: what is welcomed as polemical and transgressive to some might be insulting to others and what is subversive for some may be offensive to others (p.52). This makes an analysis of ethnic humor so complex; is there a point making the joke as non-offensive? Absolutely not, the potential to offend lies within many types of humor, even if majority of the audience cannot stop roaring with laughter (Hirji 570). Analysis of Russell Peters Jokes The main function of racist jokes is to reinforce the presumed superiority of one ethnic or racial group over another (Howlitt and Owusu-Bempah 50). Without question, Peters does make audience a good laugh. However, what is the root of the racist joke? Is the joke offering difference depending upon who is the subject (Hirji 575)? Hijri quotes some lines of Peters as saying that somebody is going to get hurt real bad (575); delivered in a thick Indian accent with an aim of highlighting a mimicking fathers who threaten their children with violence and severe punishment; pertaining to his own family or to South Asians generally: This joke does highlight the issues around race and in particular cultures and its integration in a humorous way; at the same time, it does raise some questions about the domestic violence as well. In one of his famous jokes in which he speaks about the difference between Asians and South Asians saying that I think the god that making Indian people was making some kind of practical joke with all the other gods…. It’s hot and we’re hairy. Men and women [laughs at audience reaction]. Indian girls are getting mad, putting down their sleeves [mimics their angry reaction] ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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