The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #140865   Message #3239985
Posted By: GUEST,999
16-Oct-11 - 09:07 PM
Thread Name: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
LH, we gotta have a loooooooong talk.


Stereotypes can be both a help and a hindrance. I doubt "All in the Family" would have been half the enlightening TV show it was without stereotypes. Its humour depended on preconceived ideas people had of other people. It helped cause a nation to examine some of its prejudices at a time it needed that. That time is no longer.

Leon Uris used stereotypes to great effect in what I consider to be his best novel, "Mila 18", one of the more powerful books anyone ever wrote. He established characters and then deconstructed them before the readers eyes until we were left with human beings--foibles and admirable qualities--and the turmoil of having our earlier ideas presented naked, and we had to deal with them.

Then of course we have the opposite so frequent in conversations with people who never DID get it: Well, you know what THEY'RE like.

Little Hawk in fact has written volumes of material about characters we can all identify with. Chongo, who can make remarks that would otherwise piss people off because they were attacked or called to account for some really stupid thing they said--but, how pissed off can ya be. Chongo is a friggin' monkey! Or Shane and his idiot brother, and for a year I fell for that. LH was able to create the 'stereotypical' Canuck (if you've ever seen these guys ) with Shane, and as Canadians we mostly laughed at it and with it, thinking at once it was funny because each of us knows people just like that and simultaneously thinking 'only a cretin would believe this sh#t' of all Canadians. We find the same self-effacing humour with Newfoundlanders, Maritimers, Albertans, Saskatchewaneons/Saskatchewenians/Saskatcheweeans people from Saskatchewan and even people from New Brunswick.

Then the ugly obverse of the coin: those who know only the stereotype and knowing that extend their insight to all people of the race, creed, colour, sex, age, religion, location, etc. Ain't much can be done about that. They'll die off soon enough.

And LH, I know Chongo is an ape--I just don't give a rat's a$$. Back to ya, bro.