Micha Frazer-Carroll wrote this for Gal-Dem last year:
Everyone loves a laugh – but at whose expense?
…post-watershed blackface, that operates under the guise of the comedy sketch show, found its own, horrid golden age in the early 00s. For many marginalised people, it was a truly cursed era of TV that not only mocked blackness, but dabbled in transphobia, fatphobia, misogyny, classism and ableism. Just a cursory look through the characters that graced our screens throughout those years looks like a tick-box list of offenses.
The watchword at the time was ‘edgy’. If people complained, it meant you were doing something right.
… It’s not about hurt feelings or being “offended” (whatever that means anyway) it’s about the damage that is done to certain communities by consistent trash representation in the media. The effects of comedians seeing our identity as a game add up – and have tangible, real world effects
As Frazer-Carroll points out, times have not changed. Black people have not suddenly decided blackface is offensive; other minorities have not suddenly become aware of ableism, transphobia and so on. It’s just that before social media, their legitimate complaints and justified anger were so much easier to ignore.