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Amy Schumer recently defended herself against accusations of racism in her comedy, but on Monday she apologized to a fan about a joke mocking Hispanic men.
Twitter user Martine Joelle asked Schumer to explain her “responsibility/value system as a storyteller.” Joelle specifically pointed to a joke Schumer once told during her stand-up act: “I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual.” The Twitter exchange occurred hours after the The Washington Post published an op-ed skewering Schumer’s comedy as racist and comparing the comedian to Donald Trump.
“Thank you so much for asking,” Schumer said to Joelle. “I used to do a lot of short dumb jokes like this. I played a dumb white girl onstage. I still do sometimes. Once I realized I had more eyes and ears on me and had an influence I stopped telling jokes like that onstage.”
“I am evolving as an artist,” she added. “I am taking responsibility and hope I haven’t hurt anyone. I apologize [if] I did.”
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) July 6, 2015
When Schumer was criticized in a June Guardian article for having a “shockingly large blind spot about race,” she responded, ” I will joke about things you like, and I will joke about things you aren’t comfortable with. And that’s OK.”
She referred to the same shtick of playing an “irreverent idiot” that makes “dumb jokes involving race.”
“I enjoy playing the girl who time to time says the dumbest thing possible, and playing with race is a thing we are not supposed to do, which is what makes it so fun for comics,” she said.
The Guardian pointed to her consensual Hispanic joke, as well as a joke she made about “crazy” Latina women while hosting the MTV Movie Awards in April.
“You can call it a ‘blind spot for racism’ or ‘lazy,’ but you are wrong,” said Schumer. “It is a joke and it is funny. I know that because people laugh at it.”
The co-authors of The Washington Post article published on Monday did not appreciate Schumer’s initial remarks about racism. They compared Schumer to Trump, who has been drawing ire for his remarks about Mexican immigrants during his presidential campaign.
“Both draw on shared cultural stereotypes and use dehumanizing language that gives life to an ecosystem of racial fear and violence,” wrote Stacey Patton and David J. Leonard.
“While black families are burying their dead, churches are burning, black women church pastors are receiving death threats and the KKK is planning rallies in South Carolina, Schumer is ‘playing’ with race,” said Patton and Leonard. “While Latinos are being deported in record numbers, while ’80 percent of Central American girls and women crossing Mexico en route to the United States are raped,’ while children are languishing in camps in the Southwest, Schumer has got jokes, and only white America is laughing.”
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