Whoa! Hold your horses! You said what Lucy? Bigotry? In comedy? Now you are crossing the line!
Well, no. Actually, a lot of people have been using a form of meta-bigotry in comedy as far back as the 1970s. Here's a more extensive list of frequent users:
DISCLAIMER to white people: If you haven't seen or read The Boondocks, from the bottom of my heart, Watch it! Read it! If you want to see racism end, then you'll do your duty by taking the time out to pay attention to the sage-like prophet that is McGruder. No one's around to judge you. It's just you and the computer. Pretend I'm Oprah, and this is my book club! Freaking pay attention! Okay! 'Nuff said. DISCLAIMER over. On to the next paragraph...
...meta-bigotry can look suspiciously like actual bigotry...
Let's get down the nitty gritty definition:
What is MetaBigotry? (Although, there is no official definition for it, I would encourage you to use the links provided to gain a better understanding.)
Lucy's working definition (subject to change) is "a specific treatment of irony in comedy whereas racism is used as a punchline or central theme by hyperbolically pointing out potentially pejorative vicissitudes and idiosyncrasies designated to a specific culture."
Yeah well, I tried. (Perhaps, you'll like this definition better.)
Metabigotry in comedy, which I find to be the only medium where it is being used, seems to be only understood by the educated elite, whereby "the joke" and irony is appreciated. This more educated, more aware and worldly group, understands that "the joke" is only a mere reflection of aspects of a culture--the joke not being mistaken for representing an entire ethnic group. Unfortunately, I think this is where Metabigotry falls short.
Why? Because "...meta-bigotry can look suspiciously like actual bigotry..." (a quote from Sam Anderson in his Slate article on Sarah Silverman).
And it seems like a lot of people have an opinion on Metabigotry and its use:
Why do I have such a hard time with Metabigotry?
Because it doesn't give the viewer/listener/audience member an undeniable litmus test as to what is prejudiced and bigoted within the joke. It doesn't let the viewer know which side of the joke to laugh about. It doesn't tell you, the reader, what it means to be a bigot. And perhaps that's an impossible task to designate and uphold.
Don't mistake MetaBigotry for reverse racism. Metabigotry has a learning element that reverse racism is missing. It's that same learning element, that makes the use of Metabigotry dicey for any comedian. If you don't pick up on that element, then it might as well be just plain old bigotry.
During my research, I came upon an article written by Tim Wise, a white anti-racist essayist, activist and lecturer. I like how he addresses the issue of reverse racism. Take a gander.
In my previous post on Sarah Silverman, I explain that her comedy doesn't have any real agenda. It's mere shock value. Let me reiterate that I don't hate her. I don't admire her. I just--eh! Nothing. I'm just indifferent.
How would I change the use of Metabigotry in my comedy?
I do plan on using Metabigotry in my comedy. But I plan to add a disclaimer--a word of caution. I plan on adding that missing litmus test--that piece of hope that comedy could offer. I plan on pointing out the positivity within the comedy--a solution. I always felt that Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, and the rest of the Metabigots (ewww, that almost sounds mean--but, remember according to definition it's not), were neglecting to point out and glorify that specific element. It's much easier to point fingers and say, "This is wrong with your culture! And watch how I dance all over it and make fun!" But it's much harder to develop a feasible solution.
And this is what I plan on doing with my comedy--propose a solution.
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