Racism in Family Guy Supports Stereotypes

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In today’s society, a minstrel show would unquestionably be pointed out as a racist act. However, if stereotypes were used in comedic TV shows it becomes more uncertain as to whether or not it is appropriate. With the popular use of satire in the current pop culture, the line between racism and harmless satire is harder to define. Shows like Family Guy play on a lot of racial stereotypes but do not always receive attention on those jokes. The show is often written off as just a raunchy animated show, so people expect the outrageous humor and take the jokes less seriously. Racist jokes has been muddled with satire by putting it in a comical context and in a different medium such as animation. There needs to be a more defined line between what is satirical and what is racist because it has become easier to play off a racist remark as a joke. Continuing to accept the excuse of stereotypical characterizations as plain humor still contributes to the perpetuation of racist stereotypes.
When Family Guy satirizes racial stereotypes it is taken as a lighthearted joke but the creators do not realize that it is still damaging to the reputation of those the show makes fun of. In a paper written by Lacroix, a professor at the College of Charleston, she discusses an episode of Family Guy where the family goes to a casino that was owned by Native Americans. Lacroix states that “Though visual exaggeration may be argued to be a feature of the genre, the tone of these satirization is plainly patronizing” (Lacroix). The Native Americans’ were portrayed in a nonsensical manner. Lacroix mentions there were multiple jokes made about the intelligence of the Native Americans as well as characters with absurd names such as “Running Bear” and “Watches Y...

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.... The cutaway gags that are usually shown are not for the progression of the plot of an episode. Some jokes made about races, like the Asian stereotype mentioned prior, are just included in an episode for the sake of making a joke. It is difficult to claim that the stereotypes portrayed on Family Guy are harmful to the people it makes fun of because the argument of it satirizing something greater will always be a defense. In a paper written by Michael Cundall, a professor from North Carolina Agricultural and State University, stated that “any complaint should be made against the society and not against the joke or the teller” (Cundall). This presents the idea that the ethnic jokes are only harmful because society has set it up to be with the racial stereotypes. The jokes are the product of racism rather than the cause of it therefore it cannot be proven as harmful.
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