- Thursday 12th May 2011, 3:10am
- 34 posts
Quote: Timbo @ May 11 2011, 11:27 AM BST
Interesting example - the joke relies on the fact that rape is not acceptable behaviour, but a similarly structured joke about, say, Paki-bashing would be considered as inciting hatred.
Exactly. The structure is the same, but there is a shift of power. Racism doesn't seem to be considered racism unless it's aimed towards a minority group.
Advertisements, for example, are all about ingroup/outgroup. Buy this product and you will be an ingroup. Use this deodorant and women will fall at your feet. Eat this cereal and you will lose weight. Buy this product and you will be smiley-happy. But also about categorising into "those who use Lynx" and "those who don't use Lynx". Showing a woman who doesn't look at the guy until AFTER he uses the advertised deodorant, it sends out the message that those who use this deodorant belong to the ingroup, those who do not belong to the outgroup. Just like the Paki-bashing joke upholds the belief that Pakis are outgroup. Non-pakis are ingroup. And if you laugh at my joke, you are MY ingroup. So, why is the Lynx commercial not racism? Yes ok, racism might not be the appropriate word, but you know, sectarianism. The word itself, racism, doesn't really fit for topics that don't concern race. But it is, in its simplest or more analytical form, the same behaviour, the ads and the racism. But when you are a minority group, you are more "vulnerable" in a sense.
There's this theory that we sometimes laugh to show our teeth, to show our opponent who is boss. And a joke aimed at a minority group can easily be interpreted as a threat or arrogant insult by someone feeling vulnerable. Mind you, a joke aimed at a majority group can interpreted the same way, self centered beings that we all tend to be But as long as it is not perceived as a threat, you might be less likely to perceive it as insulting or condescending or.. racism-y.