Social hatred changes political discourse and challenges satire

Social hatred like racism & misogyny change political discourse in ways that need to be examined. The big international (now tiresome) dispute is whether Charlie Hebdo is satire or racism. There may be those who think portraying African immigrants as fish-lipped pickaninnies passes as sarcasm but none who lived through Jim Crow (US apartheid) are so obtuse.

This comes up often in discussions around Obama & Hillary Clinton. Targeting his ethnicity or her gender are not political critique & the fact that they are corrupt politicians is no cause to let the dogs out. Their corruption is rooted in the system they represent & nothing else.

One of the ways it manifests with Obama is that discussion of his pandering to racism often leads to references to his own ethnicity. His ethnicity has nothing to do with his politics & no one has made that clearer than himself. People have to find another way to express incredulity that a Black politician would pander to racist stereotypes than drawing on old racist stereotypes like Uncle Tom or constant talk about his ethnicity.

Clinton may or may not be the Democrat’s candidate for president but she will be in the game for several months. Her vicious & dishonest politics should lay to rest the stereotype that women’s compassion makes them ideal leaders–a notion that should have gone out with Indira Gandhi & Margaret Thatcher. But criticisms, even excoriations, of her politics need no reference to her gender.

If social hatred weren’t a problem, this would not be an issue. But if the Charlie Hebdo travesty has taught us nothing else, it should be that satire will have to develop beyond stereotype. Satire is the genre of the oppressed; in the hands of the oppressor, it is nothing but garden-variety contempt.

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