Comedy and Social Change: Russell Peters & the Creativity of Racisms

The following is a YouTube video, an edited one done by horsi 06, of Russell Peters, a South Asian comedian.  It is edited in the same spirit as I post things here on my blog.  The video makes some important points about racism and how it functions in continuity, yet looking differently as it moves today into the future.  It does NOT go away, but changes form.

The postmodern/modern era, in which we find ourselves today, is not the same as 100 years ago.  Capitalism and individualism have afforded many channels and paths for racism to go underground, traveling through consciousness and social realms, institutions and intimate relations in creative ways that are often unrecognizable.  This is the globalization era, the era of masking, the era of side-stepping, the era of looking good but not being good.  And goodness squashes ‘badness’ in internal struggles that are genocidal within ourselves.  It won’t go away.  It comes in different forms.  If we practice not working with it, we may not ourselves perpetrate directly, but we perpetrate indirectly.   It changes form because we don’t work and struggle with its eradication.  We largely ignore it.  The video asks not to get defensive, which is the usual stance people get into when even saying the word.  But if you are one of the people who are with me on this blog, by-in-large, in its spirit of social change, then you will enjoy this video.

The editor says he/she is not preaching, but inviting reflection–which is what I have said about my entire blog, from the outset.  So in kindred spirit, I offer this video to you and we can invite the contradictions of our realities and also our present failures.  At the same time, we invite laughs.  This guy is a great comedian!!  In speaking about this in the realm of comedy, we can begin working on these things, to see ourselves and to reflect and then work.  Racism is a constructed thing that we’ve internalized.  And remember……racism is not the same for everyone, even though people may use the hatreds and the words.  Some people and groups have privileges in its construction and this makes for position and power-relations that need to be addressed, not just racism as some kind of hatred.  Many people practice racism without hatred, although it is about superiority (culturally, political position-wise, socially, etc.) always.  Let’s listen, see, work!

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