Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gong Moment #9- Slave Humor

Ok. Ole' Sisterdoc has had enough. What is up with all the slave and Klan jokes in the newspapers these days?

(Images: Bizarro; Rubes)


Anonymous said...

Is this an example of what a post-race society looks like? Enslaved people are equated with livestock (in this case Chickens) and images of the Klu Klux clan are divorced from issues of terrorism and death. How can we "get over" and laugh about issues/images that are not taught, acknowledged or respected in any significant way in this society?

Sisterdoc said...

I’m not sure if this humor hails a “post-race” society-- a society within which people who race themselves (e.g., Black folks investing in the identity politics of Blackness) or who have been raced by others (e.g., racial minorities marked as Other while Whites are not raced at all) are told neither condition now apply. This humor clearly marks race. In each text/cartoon, Whiteness is oblivious to race/racism but it is a race that is featured all the same. Whites are positions of power, with Blacks out laboring or being brutalized. Interestingly, Blacks are invisible in these cartoons. No slaves, no lynchings. That is the only way such jokes could possibly be seen as raceless (since White isn’t seen as raced), and therefore, harmless. Because Blacks are not drawn, it makes it easier for the artists to say that Blacks are being overly sensitive, paranoid, or too PC. Ick!

Anonymous said...

Hmm. My take on the first cartoon was that the humour was at the expense of those white women. I didn't think that the artist was trying to equate slaves with livestock, but to showcase the ethnocentrism and hypocrisy of the shoppers. They could feel good that the cotton was picked by 'free range' slaves, but the comic was pointing out that placating one's conscience with such minutiae is sickening!

The shoppers come across as sub-human.

I wouldn't say Blacks are being overly sensitive to point out the correlation with livestock or the absense of black people, but I think that this comic was meant to make people think about hypocrisy. Perhaps it could/should have been done better.

The second cartoon I don't get.

Anonymous said...

Re: 1st cartoon--don't overlook the bi-directional force of the rhetoric: i.e., we imagine that "free range" animals are somehow happier, and that killing them is somehow morally sanitized vs. factory-farmed animals. This is parallel to the "happy darky" meme of Plantation Literature, which supported the ideology of slavery by suggesting how much better the slaves were under white domination than they'd be in freedom.