Monday, September 2, 2013

The Daily Show Does White Privilege: Differing Perceptions by Race and NY's Stop and Frisk Policy

Finally! I had been watching, waiting, and hoping that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart would come through and handle race issues, particularly white privilege, in a way I would applaud. It finally happened during the first half of August of this year. With John Oliver having taken over for Jon Stewart for the summer, and race issues practically a daily topic of conversation due to the trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, it was about time. It coincided with a couple of other recent events as well, a judge handing down a decision about New York's stop and frisk policy as well as a report indicating that (surprise, surprise) black and white people have different perceptions about how far we've come in eliminating racism from U.S. society.

I am posting this only days after the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. I do this knowing that there is truth on both sides of the progress debate. There has been much that has changed AND there is so much more change needed.

Let us start by talking about why it is that so many white people are able to remain unaware of the significant discrimination (both overt and subtle, both individually perpetuated and systemically entrenched) that people of color continue to face on a daily basis.

As I did with the Colbert Report when I saw helpful video clips there, I created a workshop that can be used with groups (using humor as a way to enter the discussion). I haven't had the opportunity to use this workshop yet myself, so seasoned facilitators should feel free to modify as you see fit.

Teachers and facilitators can download the workshop description, agenda, facilitator's notes, and handouts on the Witnessing Whiteness book web page: The files are on the "Xtras" page.

For those of you who just need to laugh in the face of the challenge we face, here are links to the two clips I used as a foundation for the workshop.

Have fun!

Video clip #1 - The R Word - Jessica Williams and Samantha Bee convene two panels to discuss the state of race relations in the United States. Tuesday, August 6, 2013 (4:15 minutes)

Video clip #2 - Frisky Business - Mayor Bloomberg thinks New York's stop and frisk program is being unfairly stopped and scrutinized even though it's done nothing wrong, Tuesday, August 13, 2013 (7:08 minutes)

1 comment:

  1. Dear Shelly,
    Hello, there, Shelly! Happy Labor Day! It is so, so good to read your superb blog post again!Thank-you for your fantastic and uplifting post, and for the great links and info! I, too, love the show with Jon Stewart and the other one with Stephen Colbert. I am in the Central Time Zone here in Iowa City, Iowa where I live, so these shows come on at 12:00A.M. Midnight and then 12:30A.M. which is too late for me, so I reoord them on my DVR and then I watch later. I, too, enjoyed and learned from the substitute for Jon Stewart this summer!
    I am also so sick at heart over how our Trayvon Martin was murdered and the verdict. I do not and will not lose heart, however! I will for always have my faith in and belief in the goodness of white people, and that they can find healing and redemption for any racism in which they have, and that they can learn and grow! I will for always support white people and validate them, and keep my faith, hope, and optimism! The many white people in my life who I love so, so dearly and deeply, especially my white women sisterfriends, give me the faith, hope, and optimism to not give up on white people! Shelly, I thank-you so, so kindly, and so, so dearly and all of the other spectacular white anti-racists for all of your great and diligent work, activism, and for being super allies and advocates! It gives me as the 51-years-old black/African-American lesbian woman who I am so, so much healing, and increases my optimism and positive outlook! I thank you, Shelly, and all of the others from the bottom of my heart! It means so, so much, and I have such appreciation in my heart Shelly!
    Blessings so, so much to you for always, Shelly!
    Sincerely always,
    Sherry Gordon