Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Christina Sue

Abstract

I undertook this study because, while attending college in a primarily white environment, I could not help but notice the absence of race, of difference around me. However, I did not notice an absence of racialized sentiment, even though our society proclaims to be past race. For these reasons, I wanted to explore how others people around my same age group think about and understand race today. And because much of the racialized sentiment I have been made aware of has been through the use of racial humor, I wanted to apply that lens to my study. This study was conducted via two focus groups where participants were shown various racial humor clips and asked to discuss them, and afterwards, via individual interviews with each focus group participant. Through this research, I found that while the majority of participants struggled to define what crosses the line when it comes to racial humor, the white participants and participants of color differed in how they felt about and reacted to such racial humor. Due to privilege and colorblind ideology, white participants were not personally affected by the clips shown, while the participants of color were. However, the white participants did seem to realize this privilege and lack of understanding to some extent, and recognize its unfairness. These findings go against colorblind ideology because these white, privileged individuals were not blind to their privilege or to the fact that race still affects ones experiences.

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