There are television programmes (I’m not going to name them – we can all think of one or two) that hide demonisation behind laughter: “Comedies” that imitate a certain group of people and make them the butt of the joke. These groups of people range from the working classes, to certain ethnic groups, to certain age groups. Any minority that you can think of are shown as stereotypes in often harmful ways.
I like some comedies, I like laughing at life sometimes because it’s either that or cry. But I like laughing with people, not at people.
I can only speak for British TV, but there are certain programmes I have always found reprehensible.
It may seem like “just a joke” on the surface, but when you are a member of one of these minority groups, and you see the stereotype you are supposed to be being played out and laughed at…let’s just say it’s not a huge boost to self-esteem.
I understand why certain programmes are made. I understand why some people find them funny. But do you have a right to laugh at someone whose life you have no real understanding of?
These sorts of programmes promote harmful stereotypes, that often aren’t true. So when you see something about someone from this minority group, in the back of your mind, in your subconscious, is this “funny” stereotype. And you judge. Maybe even without really meaning to. You make judgements about lives you can’t understand because you’ve been fed a stereotype in a “harmless” comedy.
Sometimes it’s good to stand back and analyse things.