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Saturday, 26 November 2011

Is Family Guy actually racist?

I was having a random conversation with a man in Blockbuster yesterday. I was stood in the DVD isle checking out the new Christmas episode/film thing that Family Guy has brought out. Another man was stood nearby and started mumbling how Family Guy should be banned and is one of the most horrible programmes on the air.

I asked why he thought this and he said that clearly the creator Seth MacFarlane and all the producers and writers for the show must be racist. I pondered on this as I then headed home.

After watching every episode of Family Guy several times and being a fan, I was immediately concerned by his view, but then I begun to think about it in more depth.

Family Guy certainly takes advantage of every single modern taboo for it's comedy. Racism, Anti-Semitism, Rape, Murder, Paedophilia, Bestiality, Sexism, Incest and pretty much every kind of prejudices is featured on the programme in some kind of comical form.

Having said this, is it actually fair to say that the show itself is racist? I personally believe not.

The first important thing to note is that no individual minority of people is targeted solely. Racist jokes in the show are made about every single race: Africans, Mexicans, Jews, Asians, Gingers and Caucasians. Is something actually racist when no individual race is targeted and singled out? The fact that everyone has the micky taken out of them at some stage in the programme makes me feel that this is not actually racism.

The second thing is that really I think Family Guy is actually working towards eliminating racism. When jokes are made about particular races then the jokes are usually taking advantage of ridiculous and stupid stereotypes that people may have about a particular race.

The show is actually highlighting how unfounded and silly certain views of races are. Generally people who have open minds towards others will notice this straight away and hence see the funny side, but I believe that in some cases it may even make people laugh because they realise that they have held a similar view at some stage, and then realised how ridiculous they were being.

Obviously a programme like this cannot change someone who is deeply racist. Nothing can. Unfortunately people who have their mind set on a certain view is very rarely open to changing it. What can be done however is changing the views of those who have not really thought about their position. Some people hold a view simply because people around them do, or they have been brought up that way, or even media influence. These people can have their minds changed for the better, and showing how stupid and funny such racist views is certainly one way to combat ignorance.

On a slight side note, I am always very sceptical of people who are quick to declare someone or something racist. I find people who do this may (please note this obviously would not apply to all) actually just be covering up for the fact that they themselves have had racist thoughts. A typical "One Doth Protest Too Much" if you will.

I was met an individual who started getting very angry when we started discussing Priests. He said "All priests are paedophiles." and then started ranting about how the church is evil and should be destroyed as it is a school for paedophiles. This upset me and I admit I was too stunned at the time to argue with the guy.

It is an unbelievably unfounded and closed minded opinion of a certain group of people. I know many priests and do not believe for a moment that any of them are or even could be paedophiles. I think in reality this person has never really come into contact with a priest and just assumes that the unfortunate stereotype is true.

This man would be the first to yell and get angry at someone who makes a racist comment yet is technically himself a racist (or prejudice, depending on how strictly you use the term).

An alternative is the man could be an aggressive Atheist, who is taking out his views on religion on priests, looking for any excuse to put down and demean the church.

This is of course a very sensitive subject for many people, but the closed mindedness that some people have on the world needs to be combated.


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