A few weeks ago, The Guardian published a profile on Amy Schumer, celebrating those things we love about her: her daring off-kilter feminism, her self-depricating sketches, her ability “transcend (or at least avoid) the “debate” around likeability that has plagued other female stars.” But Monica Heisey, the piece’s author, also touched on an aspect of Schumer that her fans don’t talk about as much: the fact that a lot of her stand-up is based in racist one-liners. Like this one:
“I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual.” Y'all White feminist comedy fav, Amy Schumer— Master Race Baiter (@FeministaJones) July 6, 2015
A lot of people see these types of jokes as a weak spot in Schumer’s act and general career. A lot of other people go the other route of “It’s just a joke; lighten up.” Schumer herself indirectly responded to the article last week with a more lengthy version of the latter.
Put down your torches before reading this so you don't catch on fire. pic.twitter.com/JyRQGvFuX8— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) June 28, 2015
Many of us were disappointed by this response. Whether you agree with her or not, the “it’s just comedy” dismissal is pretty lazy. It’s been used enough by people whose jokes are so wildly UNfunny and just flat-out offensive (Daniel Tosh, Adam Sandler, Michael Che, Trevor Noah, and a whole boatload of other people, I’m looking at you), that if a comedian is going to defend a joke or act at this point, it would really serve them better to not place themselves on that team.
So, as a megafan of Amy Schumer who was really disheartened by that earlier response, I was re-heartened to see that she rethought the issue and tweeted this earlier today:
I love Amy’s Dumb White Girl character, but I’m so glad she recognizes (by the sound of it, for herself, not because she’s caving to anyone else’s standards) that it should be evolving. She is having an explosion year, fame-wise, and her growing audience, especially with her particular brand of weird sex-feminism that so many of us relate to, really does put her in a totally new position. She doesn’t have to be a spokesperson or our ultimate role model, but I’m happy she realizes that with great power comes great responsibility to talk about her vagina in a more inclusive way.