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Essay on The Humorous Take on Racism in Telephone Conversation

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Discrimination has existed since the dawn of men. We have all experienced it in one form or another and sometimes we’ve discriminated without even realizing it. There have been plenty of people who have fought against discrimination by teaching others. Using anger, fear, and guilt many have spread the word to be more tolerant of others but one less common way this has been accomplished is through humor. Wole Soyinka does this well in his poem “Telephone Conversation” in which he takes a more humorous and ironic approach on discrimination. The humorous take on racism in “Telephone Conversation” should be used more in teachings to further spread the foolishness of discrimination.
A lot of people are oblivious to the things that have happened in the past; from slavery to the civil rights movement and all the things in between that have shaped how discrimination is today. Most are bored with these topics and when learned in school they go in one ear and out the other never to be thought of again. The humorous tone of “Telephone Conversation” can help change this by teaching others about racism better than conventional methods. Elizabeth Weinstein wrote an article about Mark Shatz and Frank LoSchiavo, two professors at Ohio University who have argued that humor can help learning. During their study they concluded that students are more interested in learning when humor is applied. Shatz and LoSchiavo have been integrating humor into their online classes with positive results. Having funny jokes and cartoons related to the subject has increased the number of times students interact in the discussion board and overall increase their interest in the class (Weinstein). Their use of humor in their teachings help people participate more an...


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...r in “Telephone conversation” can be used to educate others but as Greengross warns, it should be done carefully.
Many have spread the word about discrimination in many different ways. Humor, being a less used method for this can be the most effective. As Mark Shatz and Frank LoSchiavo have proven humor can help people be more involved in class and learn better. It can help them get out of their comfort zone and participate more in class. While Javier Muñoz-Basols has shown that humor can help people remember things better. As humorous ideas are more easily remember than uninteresting ones. Through my own experience growing up humor can be a very powerful way to teach others about racism but as Gil Greengross warns it must be done right. Soyinka manages to accomplish this in “Telephone Conversation” and more should use his method in their own teachings.
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