Everyone has a right to their own opinion and I totally respect the fact that some people watch it and laugh hysterically at every joke- that's cool- we all enjoy different types of humor.
In fact, there have been plenty of past episodes that I've watched and nearly died laughing.
Good times...great fun...
BUT along came the moment when I felt like I'd been punched in the face by a large, foul-smelling, hairy guy named Are You Black? Then You Must Be Stupid.
It was soooo weird!
I was watching 30 Rock, laughing and enjoying whatever flavored yogurt I was eating and then from out of no where BAM, Are You Black? Then You Must Be Stupid shows up and just punches me, knocking the wind out of me!
It happened as I watched a scene similar to this one:
"Uh...I don't understand...what's happening? " to
"Okay, that was kinda funny, I shouldn't feel bad, I'm just being too sensitive..." to
"Yeah, that was super funny, it's okay I can laugh- ha ha!" to
"ha ha ha- WHOA." to
"This...is... painful." to
"Okay, I'm going to change the channel and watch something else until this scene is over."
This began happening at least once during every, single episode of 30 Rock.
Despite Are You Black? Then You Must Be Stupid's presence (and his punches), I continued to watch because:
(a) I admire Tina Fey's tenacity and (b) Alec Baldwin is super funny.
But then I realized that I was becoming that main character (usually a Nancy or a Lily) on your average Lifetime movie.
Nancy Lily, timid and just coming out of a bad relationship, decides to give love a chance when she agrees to go out with clean-cut Clive. Nancy Lily and Clive hit it off and eventually enjoy numerous chaste yet fun-filled dates during which Nancy Lily falls deeper and deeper in love until the day Mr. Perfect loses his cool and suddenly becomes Mr. Abusive.
Nancy Lily stares at her black eye in a mirror and wonders, "Am I being too sensitive about this? Maybe this isn't as big of a deal as it seems..." and so she doesn't tell any of her friends whats going on...
That's kind of how I felt.
I mean, I try really hard to be open-minded, and it made me feel so weak to admit that I'd allowed a few jokes about black people being uneducated and bumbling idiots to bother me. So, I tried to keep my "weak" thoughts to myself when I heard other people talking about how funny 30 Rock is.
Then, about two weeks ago, I watched maybe five minutes of 30 Rock, heard myself say "No, just NO." and then shut if off for good.
I'd had enough of Are You Black? Then You Must Be Stupid's mean punches to my face.
You know why?
Because getting punched hurts.
Real life often hurts, especially for a woman with dark skin who lives in the south.
I'm going to be honest... I, personally, like the color of my skin, I think it's kind of cool. But, I also feel incredibly insecure about the way other people view this skin I'm in.
Well, because I live in a culture where strangers will often look at my coloring and automatically assume they know exactly what kind of music I listen to, what my political views are, and what my educational background consists of...not to mention that these assumptions lead to my being held at arms length and being denied certain jobs/opportunities etc...
Being treated in this way often ='s numerous tears because it lets me know that when people look at me, they often don't see me- they only see the color of my skin.
I watch television to escape the realities of life.
But if I plop my bruised self in front of 30 Rock, I'm not able to escape the prejudice that I'm surrounded by in real life- instead I'm punched in the face with it.
Humor is a fascinating gift that, when used properly, can actually dull the sharp edges of painful subjects.
But we have a responsibility to ourselves and to others to be careful with the way we handle this gift.
Using humor to mock the illogical nature of racism is great, but using it to highlight victims of racism as the butt of prejudice jokes is a great way to contribute to the proliferation of prejudice and make a mockery of the gift of humor.
So, to put it simply... the jokes on 30 Rock totally hurt my feelings and I can't stand to watch them anymore.
Sorry 30 Rock, you guys lost a viewer.