US TV show ‘2 Broke Girls’ under fire for racist joke

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This example of a ‘joke’ demonstrates nomalising of racism in a global context; it is an american made television program and the joke is made by a character played by an actor of Asian decent. It place one group, the Indigenous Australians, as the ethnic “other” to be mocked and thus discriminated against. O’Neil Jr (2009))suggests it is the “constancy, universality, and, at times, invisibility of racism and intolerance make it an ongoing threat and one that functions most often by stealth.” In the case of this program the racism is in a sense ‘hidden in plain sight’ we are expected to accept it as part of the humor as it exists in a fictional space it is untouchable due to the existential separation of both the character and their opinion  from reality.   Scott  (2005) notes such examples of racism in TV and media are often assumed not to be truly racist by virtue of the fact that they so effortlessly engage in the offensive. Ironic racism, in this view, takes advantage of the notion that in a culture so concerned with political correctness, only creators “secure (in their) lack of racism would dare to make, or to laugh at, a racist joke” (Scott, 2005). Thus, to present racist characters in the current comedy environment may, paradoxically, testify to the creator’s ultimate lack of prejudice. However this view may be contested as it fails to consider whether this trend makes a positive, progressive contribution to discussions of prejudice or works to make such views ‘socially acceptable’ further preventing any real distinction and thus eradication of racism and discrimination towards indigenous people .

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