Monday, October 8, 2007

When It Stops Being Funny: The New "Madea"

Los Angles Sentinel

When It Stops Being Funny: The New "Madea" found on the BGSU Library site (Ethnic Newswatch):

Upon reading the title of this article written by Jasmyne A. Cannick from the Los Angles Sentinel I thought it was going to be about a new character which Tyler Perry was portraying. But instead, the article talks about a white man by the name of Charles Knipp who goes around and performs in “Blackface” and portrays as many stereotypes as he possibly can about African Americans. Knipp has done most of his performances down south and is planning to do a performance in Los Angles. He doesn’t see anything wrong with what he does and doesn’t really care how wrong it is or who he offends as long as he makes money from it. Knipp not only dresses up in blackface but he also portrays the “mammy” character and uses as much Ebonics as he sees fit. According to Cannick, “He [Knipp] describes his character Shirley Q. Liquor as an ‘inarticulate black welfare mother with 19 children.’” Knipp takes stereotypes and racism to another level by making fun of holiday’s which the African American community celebrates and are very proud of as well as make fun of the African Americans whom have gotten our people this far and have provided and died so that we may experience a “fair and just” lifestyle of living.

If we as people ever want to be viewed as equals or at least truly respected by our counterparts then why do we allow things and behaviors like Knipps’ to exist and carry on? I feel as though the Black community as a whole complains about how bad things are for ourselves and how racism still exists and how we are treated so unjust but if we continue to allow Knipps and others to portray us in the negative light in which he is then nothing will ever change. The biggest problem with this situation is the fact that Knipps is one of those individuals whom are given certain privileges that the African American community/people have to fight so hard for. Also, with Knipps being White he has a better chance of influencing his peers that this is how we are. It is funny how we complain about our people being attacked verbally, physically, and mentally with hate crimes yet we still pay to watch the things in which gives these people reason to hate us.

I have found this article to be very informative because I for one had no idea Knipps was going around performing such degrading acts. It is one thing for someone who experiences the hardships of their own race to make fun of it but it is another when someone who creates the hardships makes fun of it. I know I might make fun of black people or even Latinos but that is because sometimes you have to find something to smile about when things get rough. It is almost like finding that silver lining.

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