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Thread: And the award for Most Racist Oscars Presenter goes to...

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    feel like funkin' it up gwahir's Avatar
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    Default And the award for Most Racist Oscars Presenter goes to...

    So, if you haven't read by now, Billy Crystal did a sketch at the Oscars impersonating Sammy Davis Jr.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...y-davis-295558

    He has garnered criticism for first doing a "blackface" sketch and later joking "After I saw The Help I just wanted to hug the first black woman I saw, which from Beverly Hills is about a 45 minute drive."

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz...#ixzz1ngUHrH9t

    Are these things racist? Do they make Crystal racist?

    Someone better educated in the history and meaning of blackface is better equipped to respond to the sketch than I, but it seems to me that, while you can't escape the dirty history connected to blackface acts, impersonating a specific character or person (Crystal did his Sammy act many times on SNL, it can be noted) is not the same as blackface. Crystal was not being "a black guy", he was being Sammy.

    For that matter, if Crystal's act was racist, or at least racially insensitive, what of Robert Downey Jr's performance in Tropic Thunder?

    As for the second point, the The Help joke: I can see WHY it's been interpreted badly, but I can't help but feel that anyone who interpreted the joke as racist simply misunderstood the jibe. It was, maybe stealthily (but I don't think so), a pretty cutting joke about The Help's pretty hopeless attempt at adding to the race conversation -- I did like the "fixed title" for the movie I found on George Takei's Facebook, "White People Solve Racism" -- as well as a joke about the lack of diversity around Beverly Hills. The joke was at someone's expense, certainly, but not black people's -- rather the naivete of the filmmakers behind The Help and the rich white Beverly Hillians.

    Am I being too forgiving? Is there a deeper cultural context that just makes these jokes untenable?

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    I think the fact that the Sammy Davis Jr. impression originated on SNL means the whole thing is forgivable, although I would say it was still misguided.

    I don't think it's racist to portray yourself as someone from a different race. What about Maya Rudolph? She is mixed race (black mother & white father) but on SNL she has played characters from virtually every ethnic background imaginable. The same goes for Fred Armisen.

    If Billy Crystal had done a sketch where he did a stereotypical black guy (like a Tyler Perry character) then the conversation would be different. Fact is, he was impersonating a one eyed, jewish black guy. There are no stereotypes involved.
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    Also fun but not entirely relevant fact: on a recent episode of Showtime's Inside Comedy, Billy Crystal related a story about how he used to open for Sammy Davis Jr. on tour and every night after Crystal had done his set, Sammy would come out and tell a long story about an event from his long friendship with Crystal. These were always surreal and completely false, they didn't know eachother previous to the tour and didn't socialise at all.
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    feel like funkin' it up gwahir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonj View Post
    If Billy Crystal had done a sketch where he did a stereotypical black guy (like a Tyler Perry character) then the conversation would be different.
    What are your thoughts on RDJ's character in Tropic Thunder?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwahir View Post
    What are your thoughts on RDJ's character in Tropic Thunder?
    Well that's a satire of a very specific thing (actors who portray radically different characters in order to get awards) so it's perfectly fine.
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    Senior Member Infernus's Avatar
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    When its done for comedy its not racism, when its done for hate then you have racism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Infernus View Post
    When its done for comedy its not racism, when its done for hate then you have racism.
    Occasionally people will get to comedy via hatred. Jokes will often come out of people's shared hatred of a group (blacks, gays, republicans, Mexicans, IRS agents). The question is whether the joke is at the expense of the race in question or other racists -- in other words, ironic and self-aware.

    But even that's not simple, because you might think you're making, for instance, gay jokes ironically, all the while seriously emotionally hurting someone who has to hear them. EVEN IF he or she knows you don't mean it, it is still hurtful. So you have to be in a situation where you can trust that your audience will receive it as intended. Which doesn't mean censoring yourself, or refraining from pushing boundaries, but it means tailoring your comedy so it is not at the expense of anyone who might suffer from it.

    For example, this can mean viciously tearing apart those in the majority or who are better advantage (e.g. Christians, white people, men, rich people) while treading sensitively on jokes at the expense of minorities or the disadvantaged (e.g. gays, blacks, women, poor people).

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    Senior Member ShitFace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sycld View Post
    You're*

    Racism was funny back then.
    It isn't now.
    Last edited by ShitFace; 02-29-2012 at 08:57 AM.
    Andy says:
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    ShitFace says:
    i dont think skill is a genre of game lol
    Andy says:
    of course it is you have seen the crystal maze havnt you?
    he says what next a skill physical mental?


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    Quote Originally Posted by ShitFace View Post
    You're*

    Racism was funny back then.
    It isn't now.
    I think racism is funny...

    On topic, of course this isn't racist. Using Dave Chappelle as an example, if he had impersonated Frank Sinatra by dressing in 'whiteface', then made the exact same joke, nobody anywhere would be saying anything about it. If anything is racist about all of this it is the fact that everyone is calling it racist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. E View Post
    I think racism is funny...

    On topic, of course this isn't racist. Using Dave Chappelle as an example, if he had impersonated Frank Sinatra by dressing in 'whiteface', then made the exact same joke, nobody anywhere would be saying anything about it. If anything is racist about all of this it is the fact that everyone is calling it racist.
    The problem is that dressing up in "blackface" is analogous to using the word "nigger" because they both have a tarred history of being used to opress black people. But, of course, there's a difference between wearing make up to impesonate a pop culture figure of a different ethnicity and "cooning up" like Amos and freakin' Andy.
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    feel like funkin' it up gwahir's Avatar
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    indeed, there's nothing inherently racist about a white man pretending to be a black man, but the reason a black guy impersonating a white man isn't generally going to be seen as racist is that there's no cultural baggage attached to it.

    dressing up in blackface and insisting it's not racist because nobody is being persecuted is akin, as simonj said, to tossing around the word "nigger" and insisting you're not meaning to insult anybody so you should be allowed to use it whenever you want. there's no equivalent for black-on-white racism, because there's no cultural baggage around black-on-white racism.

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    Journeyman Cocksmith Mr. E's Avatar
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    Screw cultural baggage. If we can be progressive about everything else, why can't we be progressive about the way we view race? Sure, there was and is hate, there is bad history, but isn't it time we as a society moved past it? There will never be true equality while we're squabbling about which races we're allowed to make fun of and which ones we aren't.

    If your counterargument to that is that there will never be true equality, then there is no point even discussing what is racist and what isn't. If your counterargument is that we're just not there yet, then oversensitivity isn't going to get us there any faster.
    Quote Originally Posted by gina View Post
    i can't tell if we're in the throes of a troll toll (to get into the boy's soul) or if there's just one more big floppy douchebag pussywhipped idiot walkin around out there

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    feel like funkin' it up gwahir's Avatar
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    Why would I argue that there'll never be true equality? That came so out of left field. What a non sequitur.

    I'm arguing for sensitivity towards cultural context, not oversensitivity to people's feelings. Culturally insensitive dialogue promotes and encourages racism and hate. Oversensitivity coddles people.

    If I hadn't made it clear, I don't think Crystal was even slightly racist. I think his Sammy is hilarious and his joke about The Help was pretty cuttingly spot-on.

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    Journeyman Cocksmith Mr. E's Avatar
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    Sorry, I wasn't talking about you specifically. It was a global 'you', I should have made that more clear.
    Quote Originally Posted by gina View Post
    i can't tell if we're in the throes of a troll toll (to get into the boy's soul) or if there's just one more big floppy douchebag pussywhipped idiot walkin around out there

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    I realize that there are still people alive who experienced racially offensive things. That doesn't mean we should tip-toe around them until they die before trying to move forward, though. I don't really view the swastika thing as a similar example, as it is one symbol whereas what we are talking about is much more broad.

    If the choice is between oversensitivity and undersensitivity, I think undersensitivity will get us to a post-racial world faster. If we remain uptight and keep pointing at everything that could possibly offend anyone all we're doing is reminding everyone that they should be offended in the first place. I was not offended by the impression in question, and to be honest I didn't even give it a second thought. It wasn't until their was public outcry that I even thought about whether it is racist or not. In my opinion it is time to shut down race double standards. They don't help anyone, they don't protect anyone, all they do is perpetuate the visibility of the inequity.
    Quote Originally Posted by gina View Post
    i can't tell if we're in the throes of a troll toll (to get into the boy's soul) or if there's just one more big floppy douchebag pussywhipped idiot walkin around out there

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