Why So Serious, Jerry?

Jerry Seinfeld let drop in a recent interview that he doesn’t play the college circuit because those meanie students cry racism and sexism too much.

Seinfeld said college students don’t understand racism and sexism. “They just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudice.’ They don’t even know what the f—k they’re talking about.”

Well, as a professor, I know that not every student does their homework, but maybe what Seinfeld is seeing is a generation of kids that don’t want to be racist of sexist, so they call out what they see.  Does PC catch some of the wrong fish in its net?  Sometimes.  But to blame the death of comedy on people who don’t think racism and sexism are funny?  Hold on.

Chris Rock, Louis C.K. and Margret Cho are all top billed comedians with long careers who do talk about race and sex without dragging out the PC police every time.  Comedy should talk about our most sticky issues–a little humor makes the hard things easier to say and think about–but it takes a comedian who can write a joke AND understands these issues.   If Seinfeld can’t talk about women or people of color without being offensive, then just stick to what he truly does well–jokes about nothing.  As for college students learning about racism and sexism, leave that work to us in the class.

Author: Susan X Jane

Susan X Jane is a diversity educator, speaker, and trainer and coach. A former professor and media literacy activist, she now consults with organizations looking to make sense of our current cultural shift. She thinks a lot about media and race…a lot...and writes and speaks about media…and race... and encourages everyone she meets to think about the way our identity shapes our experiences, ideas, and beliefs about the world. If you're reading this, she wants you to think about it too. Want to talk about it? Let's go.

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