Comedy as Remedy for Racism, Other “isms”

Comedy draws its strength from the emotional pain people carry deep inside. Comedians invite us to laugh along with them as they point out how the world is stupid and cruel. We feel better when their perspectives add to our wisdom and ease or at least share our pain.

Unfortunately, what’s still considered humorous in some communities is often racist, misogynistic, or sadistic in its intent. I didn’t feel comfortable with it growing up, and education has enlightened me more. Now I consider this type of comedy a form of humor only in light of its absurdity.

A recent novel I read makes fun of racism. It casts a comedic perspective on absurd racist humor. Yet, the author was criticized by both self-righteous reviewers who didn’t get the sarcasm and felt insulted, and those who also didn’t get the sarcasm but liked the slurs. Sadly, both types appear to be the life of the party everywhere.

The novel, Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves, by Dave Lowry, helps to confirm my belief that smart comedy provides part of an ultimate remedy for racism, sexism, and most of the other “isms.” The full cure probably requires non-separatist educational systems and global open-mindedness. Yeah, I know, “In the best of all possible worlds, Candide…” quoted from a good book which is also comedic; exposing absurd “isms”, including perfectionism.

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