The Japanese American Citizens League released a statement this week condemning Stephen Colbert’s “use of racist jokes to make a larger point about bigotry and ignorance,” reports Rafu Shimpo.
In a much publicized episode of the Colbert Report, the comedian and satirist ridiculed Washington’s NFL team owner Dan Snyder for using the much maligned team nickname in the name of a foundation he set up to assist Native Americans.
Colbert reprised a stereotypical character to announced the creation of the ‘Ching-Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.’
JACL in its statement made clear it understood the satirical nature and the intent of the Colbert sketch, but also pointed out that even satire can be offensive and racist.
Below is JACL’s statement:
“Much of ‘The Colbert Report’s’ humor is based on the premise of the outrageous character played by Stephen Colbert, a caricature of a racist, sexist, over-the-top right-wing conservative media personality. Yet too often, the guise of humor and satire are used to absolve individuals of all responsibility when their humor misses its mark and becomes offensive.
“The JACL objects to Colbert’s use of racist jokes to make a larger point about bigotry and ignorance. There is much to criticize around Dan Snyder’s racial insensitivity and the enormous amount of privilege he wields in actively perpetuating the use of a racial slur. However, there is nothing clever or humorous about resorting to tired, racist stereotypes that target another marginalized group in order to make this point.”