They were talking about the sad demise of Frank Carson on the BBC this morning, and how comedy has changed through the years. Frank, I think, was a wonderful comedic genius who was able to engage an audience and make them respond and warm to him, seemingly regardless of the jokes he told.
“It’s the way you tell ’em”, after all.
But what about all those racist jokes? ‘Blacks’, ‘Irishmen’… the list continued. Did you laugh back then? Would you now? Would you switch the TV over with some embarrassed silence fills the air, tangible thoughts of, “should NOT find that funny. I am NOT a racist”.
Surely though, everytime you (or I) think, “must not make this an issue”, or ooh black person or ooh white person or in fact any thought to do with race, colour, sexuality or religion… we are making the very issue of racism/prejudice in our heads. The thought is giving rise to the prejudice. It is already there in our own heads.
Sure, we don’t WANT to single people out for what colour they are, race, creed or other. But hasn’t society gotten to this mad point where everything is made a massive issue out of. Be careful about the tone of that joke, it may offend someone. Don’t tell wife or mother in law jokes. Don’t tell jokes about men vs women. Don’t tell jokes about … well anything other than the price of bread.
Why should these offend anyone? It is comedy! We are all different, we can’t get away from the fact. It isn’t as if anyone should be offended by this. They made the point on the beeb that a gay comedian can make jokes about gay people but a straight comedian can’t. We’d laugh at the first, boo and possibly walk out on the second.
Have we as a nation, gone completely mad?
Every time you think, “mustn’t make [colour/religion/sexuality] an issue”, it already is. The thought should never be even given birth to. Yet I would say that most of us do.
So, are you a racist?
Just some thoughts for you to ponder, comments very welcome.
PS For the image on this post I was going to use an image of Lenny Henry. You know, being black and therefore highlighting the difference in colour. But wouldn’t that be falling into my own trap? Or would it be an action of acceptance? I can’t figure it out. Maybe I am racist. I don’t want to be though. Hmm…