Shoshannah F. sent in this clip (originally found here) from Bill Maher’s show, in which he makes fun of many stereotypes of African Americans by applying them to Whites and imploring viewers to not let their prejudice against Whites keep them from voting for John McCain:


It would make a great clip for discussing differences in how behaviors are attributed to race. Negative behaviors committed by African Americans (say, engaging in crime or being lazy) is often seen as an inherent trait of Blacks. When a White person does the same thing, his or her Whiteness is rarely brought up as a reason for the behavior. Whites are evaluated as individuals, while non-Whites find they are often evaluated as group members. Thus, the fact that the vast majority of the individuals involved in the financial meltdown is White is unlikely to lead to a stereotype that Whites are incompetent, bad with money, or inclined to engage in crime. Yet negative behaviors of non-Whites are often believed to provide evidence of what non-Whites are essentially like. For instance, I once had a conversation with a woman who told me about a coworker quitting without giving notice and then expressed her belief that it was because the woman was Black, and Blacks don’t have a good work ethic. Yet when I quit a crappy job at a college bookstore without giving notice back in college, I doubt it was attributed to Whites just not having a good work ethic.

This clip from “The Daily Show” also plays on some stereotypes about Blacks and Whites, as well as the idea that Obama isn’t “really” Black:

Thanks, Shoshannah!

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.