The Key Dichotomies of Embodied Racism

The presence of non-stereotyped racist jokes has been outlined. These jokes usually present the second of Wieviorka’s logics of racism - exclusion - and so express proteophobia. I now chart three interlinked civilisation/nature dichotomies in embodied racism that receive expression, and so in particular readings, resolution in racist humour. First, a racist enlightenment mind/body dichotomy sees the ‘other’ as having both less intelligence and increased corporeality. Second, a linked dichotomy focuses on the sexuality of the ‘other’ and describes it as corporeal, savage and unrestrained. Third, jokes are identified that depict the ‘other’ and her increased corporeality taking part in specific social practices. The jokes often transgress the boundaries of embodied and cultural racism, hence emphasising the analytical nature of the distinction between the two forms, and this is identified where relevant.

The jokes mentioned in the three examples express elements of the first logic of racist humour, which is that of inclusion at the cost of the inferiorisation of the ‘other’. It is argued that even if dichotomous stereotypes are presented as ‘positive’ they are attached to a chain of signification that promotes inferiorisation through humorous semantic alienation or promote negative stereotypes in the second logic of the joke.

 
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