The 'Other' laughs back: humour and resistance in anti-racist comedy
journal contributionposted on 30.09.2010 by Simon Weaver
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
This article outlines the ‘reverse discourses’ of black, African-American and Afro-Caribbean comedians in the UK and USA. These reverse discourses appear in comic acts that employ the sign-systems of embodied and cultural racism but develop, or seek to develop, a reverse semantic effect. I argue the humour of reverse discourse is significant in relation to racism because it forms a type of resistance that can, first, act rhetorically against racist meaning and so attack racist truth claims and points of ambivalence. Second, and connected to this, it can rhetorically resolve the ambiguity of the reverse discourse itself. Alongside this, and paradoxically, reverse discourses also contain a polysemic element that can, at times, reproduce racism. The article seeks to develop a means of analysing the relationship between racist and non-racist meaning in such comedic performance.
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies