Back in the day when I was young and carefree I used to look up to certain people and their satirical comedy. But now I’m older, wiser, and angrier.
The subject of satire is much like postmodernism, wherein there is no specific definition for it and no one really knows what the hell is going on (or maybe that was just me). I’ve been wary of some satire for a long while now and I think I’ve finally found out why. Shows like Family Guy and South Park are renowned and celebrated by most people I know and meet, to the point where it seems I have issues with such shows like this because I really love conflict. The reason these shows are so well received is due to a few reasons, sure, but believe me when I say that the majority of these reasons are problematic. You might have the right to freedom of speech and whatever kind of comedy you please, but you need to expect consequences.
I used to think satire was so witty, so daring and so politically confrontational, it was a revelation. Don’t get me wrong, I still do…if the satire is made by the right people.
Stephen Colbert recently got into some trouble regarding an apparent tweet of his. He claims that he has no affiliation with the twitter account and either way it doesn’t matter to me because I already have a pretty low opinion of him.
You might think he’s progressive, but take a second look. Colbert takes pride in mocking such people as Donald Trump, Anthony Weiner and Rupert Murdoch, these are fine examples that can be subject for mockery. White men mocking other white men is funny and amusing. Just as Indian people mocking other Indian people can be amusing. Chinese people mocking other Chinese people can be amusing.
What isn’t funny is people like Colbert, a white male mocking ethnic minorities at their expense to get some laughs. Just because you’ve stuck a ‘SATIRE’ label on something, doesn’t mean it’s not offensive.
When white males use terms such as ‘ching-chong’ or other racist slurs, we don’t see you speaking out for us as an oppressed people and trying to change people’s views on us. We see a white man using words and terms that have been burned into our skin since we were born, and we can still feel the heat.
When South Park write supposedly satirical and progressive pieces on issues such as race, I wonder where they have the right to make a political remark on these issues when they’re just a bunch of white guys in Canada who have never suffered the oppression that people of color do a day in their life.
Spanish maids in Family Guy being mocked for their accents, but what are they trying to prove? That the education system and the immigration laws are screwed? South Park mocking children starving of hunger in third world countries, how is that funny? When you use terms that have deep roots in oppression, they still feel oppressive. You can’t use terms such as the N-word and get away with it as a white person. There is no such thing as acceptable racism. Or is it the fact that it’s not funny the funny part? I’m not laughing. Nor am I laughing at other shitty attempts at satire.
I know all the shitty comments people are going to write, telling me to calm down. But no, I don’t think I will. If white people want to make a big old song and dance about issues regarding such fragile things as gender and race, then I can do it too.
Remember this, you might have the right to offend, but don’t you dare get up in arms when we get offended. There are no double standards here, and if I want to throw my toys out of the pram, I damn well will.
The next person who tells me “you’re misunderstanding the context” you can shove the context up your arse. But, hey, the next time we hear insensitivity masquerading as a misogynistic or racial joke, let’s all circle the wagons and just keep pretending that the only problem —- the real problem —- is the oppressive PC police jumping to their defense when all we wanted to do was have a laugh at institutionalized racism and parade our privilege around like the clever and hilarious people we are. But what is it with these edgy white men all of a sudden? They seem to be getting praise for bringing up these issues that they seem so well versed in.
These are white people who are watched by a predominantly white audience. It’s interesting that race is addressed but not to an extent that there are no colored people with as much limelight at their disposal as Colbert. Every time I try and address the issue I have with this racial satire I get told to just take it as a joke. Well, I see and receive racism on an almost daily basis, but I’m just being over sensitive, right? We read satire articles and sometimes we squint at it, trying to decipher if it’s really outrageously offensive, or if it’s satire.
But if the content is the same, then whether it’s a joke or serious shouldn’t matter. Especially if it’s by the exact same people who put us in our place originally.