I recently tweeted that most of what we consider humour is actually just defanged prejudice.
We have all been socialised to try and extract superiority where we can find it, but expressing that is unacceptable, so we call it a joke.
Humour has never been apolitical and if we truly examine our collective sense of humour, not only in SA but globally, we’ll see that most of what we find funny has to do with the denigration of someone’s humanity.
Black people, queer people, women, disabled people and religious minorities all seem to tickle our funny bones, but at the intersection of black and woman, we tend to fork out more for a ticket.
The things we find funny says a lot about who we are, even more so about the society that enables us to build careers on mocking stereotypes.
There have been many social media sensations managed to build empires from their ability to mock black women through the stereotypes of being loud, unsophisticated, materialistic, emotionally manipulative, hypersexual and unintelligent. It is the perceived constitutive other to the delicacy and innocence of white womanhood.
Ironically, it has been mostly gay cisgender men who have lapped up these opportunities to profit from caricatures of black womanhood. And it is always black womanhood.