Racist humor empowers white supremacy, Raúl Pérez argues in book, "The Souls of White Jokes"

In the book "The Souls of White Jokes" Latino author Raúl Pérez states racist humor is dangerous but used by politicians, law enforcement and far-right groups.

Author and sociologist Raúl Pérez attended a diverse university in California that promoted mutual respect among students, "yet after hours, in the dorms, I saw many boundaries tested with racial humor."

“We were sociology majors, we were taking ethnic studies courses," Pérez said, "and here we were in an environment where people were free to make racist and offensive jokes."

Convinced that there was more behind such experiences than “just jokes,” Pérez embarked on academic research on the intersection between humor, race, power and inequality. Now he has released his first book, “The Souls of White Jokes,” which aims to show how racist humor fuels white supremacy.

He also shows how pervasive its use is — from media figures and politicians to law enforcement and far-right groups.

Pérez, assistant professor of sociology at the University of La Verne, in California, knows that humor is often a form of release from everyday pressures. What he examines in his book, whose title recalls W.E.B. Du Bois’ seminal essay, “The Souls of White Folk” (1920) is how the stakes around humor change when the jokes are racist.


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Updated: 1 week ago
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