Humor enforces stereotypes

ashmita - Geneva, New York
Entered on April 28, 2008

According to Bosken humor always contains the possibility of an (indirect) assault. The nature of humor that is based on sex and race explains the persistence of any stereotypes. The characteristics and the functions of humor are to gain social control and degrade other human being or race. I am concerned about shows like South Park and Family Guy where humor is used to reinforce stereotypes that are in the society. Shows like these feed off the society and reinforce the historical patterns. People don’t pay much attention to these shows because they use humor in order to make people laugh but at the same time they are racist. By watching these shows we are taking part in what physiologists call “aversive racism.” Humor creates a community which reinforces the history of racism. For example in South Park a character known as Cartman makes fun of Kyle for being Jewish and reinforcing the stereotype that Jewish people are stingy and greedy for money. In Family Guy while a teacher is teaching his class a girl answers a math problem and all the boys in the room scream, “she is a witch.” People should understand the underlying effect of humor and how it degrades people.