Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is it Okay to Laugh at a Racist Video?

The comedian Chescaleigh has posted her latest video, "S#!t White Girls Say... to Black Girls," and it is a mild send up of the sort of some mild racism, sometimes disguised as admiration, that a supposedly representative white girl, played in "blonde-wig" by Chescaleigh, might direct toward a black friend. Chescaleigh's sharp portrait of this representative white girl is of course itself mildly racist. Let's here go to the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of racism, which is a pretty good one: "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races."

Despite the above, Chescaleigh's Blonde-Wig Comedy video is funny, and not just to me but to the diverse audience I've surveyed. A few of my best friends are blonde and yet I'm not particularly offended. This all is complex, if not downright complicated, so I certainly wouldn't encourage you to try something similar at home, or at a dinner party.

Update: I see Ricochet has linked to me, for which thanks. And it's slightly reassuring in that I'm now living in the UK, a country I love that has laws about disseminating racist material. Chescaleigh's video though, aside from being funny and astute, is also instructive about the complexities of race and the subtexts of friendships, and so it seemed notable and worth posting. And now I do wonder what she'll do next (gulp).


karlub said...

Of course it would be OK to laugh at a racist video. This video, though, is not racist or funny. So it is not OK to laugh at it ;-)

James Scott Linville said...

Toure, is that you?

Anonymous said...

Racist? What on earth is racist about this vid????

Do you even know what the word means?