Everybody Hates Chris

The title of the show, Everybody Hates Chris parodies the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. The American sitcom is inspired by the experiences of comedian Chris Rock (who is also the narrator). Set in the 1980s, the show revolves around Chris’ everyday life as a teenager. Chris attends an all-white school in Brooklyn Beach, where students and teachers pick on him. If things seem to progress favorably for Chris throughout an episode, predictably, they will almost certainly backfire on him in the end. And if a situation isn’t going Chris’ way, it always manages to go downhill and get even worse for him, whether or not he tries to change the course of events.

Caruso's (right) daily affair of bullying Chris (left)

Attending an all-white school, Chris was picked on mercilessly, as shown above. Just because Chris was the only Black boy in school, Caruso saw that as a valid reason to bully Chris. Caruso was not the only one picking on Chris. Surprisingly, his teacher Ms. Morello seemed to unknowingly pick on Chris due to her oblivion and misjudgment of Blacks. Ms. Morello obviously stereotypes Blacks as ‘poor kids that have over 15 half-siblings who are looked after by a single mother who is trying to keep away and be sober from “the Black’s vices” of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs’, as I paraphrase Ms. Morello in the gist of video as below.

Stereotypes are generalized beliefs by which we make sense of the world around us, regardless of context or accuracy. This defines how Ms. Morello was behaving towards Chris with her stereotypical generalization and condescending mentality of Blacks. Chris Rock develops his show as a comedy and displays how racial discrimination among the Whites towards the Blacks exist. The video as below from a scene in Everybody Hates Chris represents an example of racial discrimination:

All in all, anyone who make up the majority or minority can be prejudiced against another race, gender or religion; among other aspects. In my opinion, I think that no matter how liberal one feels or thinks, they are still prejudiced to a certain degree. (E.g Male Chauvinist Pigs vs Feminists, or simply distastefully judging the influx of foreigners working in your homeland as a negative interpretation). These are the results of attitudinal barriers to intercultural communication through stereotyping and prejudice.

So, what are your views?

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25 Responses to Everybody Hates Chris

  1. Tazkiah says:

    There will always be prejudice in the world because everybody is brought up differently. With prejudice comes the creation of stereotypes. There is no way to counter the creation of prejudices as nobody has the right to tell a parent how to bring up their child. The only way to counter prejudice is through education as it stems from ignorance. This can be done in schools and even through the media. Perhaps then we will have fewer stereotypes in the world.

    • Everyone judges to a certain extent. Stereotypical thinking branches out from this and yes, I do agree that education can counter and reduce the amount of prejudice and stereotypical perspectives people have of each other. Education heightens our understanding and decreases unnecessary judgments.

  2. Stereotypes are generalizations, or assumptions, that people make about the characteristics of all members of a group, based on an image (often wrong) about what people in that group are like. For example, one study of stereotypes revealed that Americans are generally considered to be friendly, generous, and tolerant, but also arrogant, impatient, and domineering. Asians, on the other hand, were expected to be shrewd and alert, but reserved. Clearly, not all Americans are friendly and generous; and not all Asians are shrewd. If you assume you know what a person is like, and don’t look at each person as an individual, you are likely to make errors in your estimates of a person’s character.

    In conflicts, people tend to develop overly-negative images of the other side. The opponent is expected to be aggressive, self-serving, and deceitful, for example, while people view themselves in completely positive ways. These stereotypes tend to be self-perpetuating. If one side assumes the other side is deceitful and aggressive, they will tend to respond in a similar way. The opponent will then develop a similar image of the first party, and the negative stereotypes will be confirmed. They may be grow worse, as communication is shut down and escalation heightens emotions and tension.

    In today’s society many racial groups are stereotyped; African Americans, Asian Americans, and Mexican Americans are among the most frequent racial groups stereotyped against. American journalist Walter Lippman in his book “public opinion” first introduced the modern usage of the word stereotype in 1922. African Americans in the United States have faced many adversities and have struggled to gain equality in the United States. The degree of which white endorse negative stereotypes of blacks not only biases judgments of blacks verses whites as welfare recipients in criminal suspects, but also affects the way they respond to counter-stereotypical information about the target. Negative stereotypes of African Americans have been deeply ingrained in Anglo American culture ever since Africans were first brought to this country in chains. The stereotypes served an essential purpose; they justified Anglo enslavement of Africans. The captured Africans were presented as dangerous and violent and as pagans who would benefit from the civilizing influence of Christian slaveholders. They also were presented as feckless, ignorant, child-like beings that needed the fatherly care of the slave owner.

    One of the most recent problems occurring today is racism in the media. Stereotyping in television and movies has reached its zenith and it has prolifically increased since the early 90’s. Images from these mediums constantly bombard American children with negative and unrealistic portrayals of African American life or deny the existence of African-Americans in a true “American society at all”.

    • Media does have an influential impact on us, therefore, apart from having to educate people in order to decrease prejudice and stereotyping, the need to rid any media that has racist implications is also important.

  3. nj says:

    Stereotype has been happening ever since man was created. You assume and then treat them like they are, when in reality many are not, so you could be treating someone who is innocent wrongly.

    Don’t agree on judging people by stereotypes, but stereotypes can be interesting. There is usually an element of truth in stereotypes, for example, “Americans are fat.” now, we know that isn’t true, as not all Americans are obese, but the obesity rate in America is very high.

    People often innocently create and perpetuate stereotypes and since it is an inevitable and recurring issue in the world today- commonly used teasing people; So why not share our races and archetypes humorously, if we can’t laugh at ourselves once in a while, then we are probably going to get too touchy and exhausting when someone makes a joke about it.

    • I agree with you! There’s always an element of truth to stereotypes. Another example is “All English people have bad teeth!” Most people know it isn’t true; Britain does have a shortage of NHS dentists. It is still pretty funny and it makes good material for comedians and humor writers. While general stereotypical jokes can be funny, we should all keep in mind that it shouldn’t cross the line of being mean-spirited or hateful.

    • Personally I am not very sensitive when my race for example gets mocked as a sole purpose of a joke, so long as it isn’t said or meant condescendingly. However, others may not feel the same, especially say for a group that makes up a minority. If they are stereotyped, the likelihood of them feeling ostracized is there. Therefore, we should consider people’s feelings in situations like these.

  4. Faridah says:

    Talking about the topic on the stereotyping. It all started from the media. Most of the time, they potray “african american” as the negative ones in their community. I still remember what i was told previously. Last time, no african american can enter the media. You see… it all started from the media. Media actually gives an influential effect.
    Another good example, when they talk about terrorist, people have this mindset whereby its the muslim. When actually the meaning of terrorist is just “a person who terrorizes or frightens others”. I can’t deny that i do stereotype people at times. Which i believe its a negative thing to do. Without stereotyping (which i think it’s not possible to do it) it would be a better world to live it. Without any discremination, war and etc. (Feeling Miss world)

    • It’s only normal to stereotype. Media influences, social influences and assumptions are of what contributes to this act. Therefore, I emphasize the need to educate and understand the differences of a different culture, race, gender -just basically anything that can be stereotyped

  5. Vincent says:

    Wow Sahirah, to be honest, I have never heard of these shows before.. This goes to show how limited I am when it comes to shows like the video you had posted. Nonetheless, I do feel that stereotypes is very normal. I can still remember when I was young, my parents and elders will tell me facts and stories that create an impression about a person/people. And the media is a platform for such expression of stereotypes and perhaps at times, biased, which is quite unfair and judgmental. I guess, the media has to be blamed for this?

    • Not only the media, it is the lack of awareness of such prejudice/stereotyping that exists in society. This lack of awareness occurs due to the lack of education that is instilled in one’s mind at a young age, hence, the assumption and judgments one generally has in situations (for e.g. towards a particular religion, or race, or anything for that matter)

  6. boucy says:

    Hate in short is used by people who fear!

    Or as chris rock would say racism only hurts when you allow in too , end of the day human nature as a whole need companionship and seek to be in a group.

    Everyone has an opinion. Since your stating chris rock like use him as an example. In one of his stand up he question the crowd . White people or blacks are more racist.

    His ans? BLACK PEOPLE. Why? because black people hate black people
    THE NIGGERS vs The Blacks. So are the black people racist ? no? but in truth we humans are divided.

    Asian VS Caucasian
    Indian vs Chinese
    French vs Brits
    Singaporean Chinese vs China Chinese
    English Vs Scottish

    see how it progresses. The reason companionship and a group siege mentality.

    Irregardless of view. humans by nature are good , media stereotype of not? look at how we respond to disaster. Or when we see a genocide happening.

    But where lies the fault of media?

    Look at war times , where people help one and other irregardless of their races , religion or believe. But to media promote them ? sadly not much
    and this is where i believe the media should step up in

  7. AITB says:

    how about prejudice against homosexuals?

    The widespread stigmatisation of sex between men in Latin America, which fuels violence against gay people, has been linked to the dominance of ‘machismo’ culture. It was estimated that in 2005 a gay man was killed every two days in Latin America because of his sexuality. Change must also be seen in cultural attitudes if homophobia is to be adequately addressed in the region.

    The Indian government is also taking significant action to address the severe persecution of LGBT people living in India. In July 2009, a landmark decision was made to abolish the law that criminalises homosexuality.

    It is hoped that this ruling will pave the way for substantial change in attitudes towards gay people in India, where the stigmatisation of homosexuality is deeply entrenched. Lesbians in particular suffer high levels of discrimination, due to the dominance of conservative values and expectations which exert pressure on women to get married and have children.

    Despite the important number of countries repealing laws which discriminate against LGBT people, 80 countries around the world maintain laws which make homosexuality illegal. In Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, as well as parts of Nigeria and Somalia, homosexual acts are punishable by death. President Ahmadinejad demonstrated the Iranian government’s attitude towards homosexuality in a 2007 speech in the US, when he claimed that “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals”.

    What’s your view on homosexual prejudice?

    • Well like racial and religious prejudice, homosexual prejudice obviously exists but not as rampant as the first two. Homosexual prejudice is terrible as the stigma towards someone who is as human as the rest gets treated differently. This different treatment causes a gap that I find unnecessary. It is unjust and I think homosexuality should not be deemed as a taboo in our ‘modernized’ society today.

  8. pr says:

    Prejudice is a natural by-product of making choices in life. We are presented with a diversity of choice daily, from which we are required to select what matters to us most, what we like best, the things which keep us in our comfort zones and anything that enhances us the most, while resisting the rest. From choosing a partner to choosing a fashionable item, we are exercising the prejudice of accepting one thing while rejecting another. So we are all guilty of exercising prejudice in some form and we all have our prejudices relating to lifestyle and culture.

    However, such prejudices become an issue where those choices are made out of deliberate malice to show dislike, to stem personal fear, to demonstrate superiority, to exclude others and to denigrate or deny their presence and rights. In fact, prejudice becomes intolerable when it is applied to people who cannot change their colour, their disability, gender or sexuality. One always has the opportunity to lose weight, if one is too big, to stop smoking, if the smoke offends others, or to stop behaving badly, if it annoys one’s peers. But prejudice against people who cannot change who they are, or their identities, hits below the belt and becomes unacceptable.

    Dealing with such prejudice is often a traumatic process for those on the receiving end, especially if they are not supported by the system, by neighbours or the community. People affected by mindless prejudice often feel impotent to deal with it and many are left scarred by its effects. However, the room for those malicious types of prejudice is gradually contracting because of the global exposure to difference, the networking opportunities to deal with people of different cultures and communities, and the educational advantages available.

    In fact, the vast amount of information available on the Internet and elsewhere, the dramatic increase in travel over the years and the proliferation of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, are doing more to break down such prejudices, and the barriers to the acceptance of diversity, than anything that has gone before them. They now make it difficult to exercise real prejudices, especially when one has been out of one’s locality or is trying to make ‘friends’ on a global scale.

    Dealing with prejudices have never been easy, and prejudices will always be there. But thanks to education, technology and greater exposure to one another, such prejudices can gradually be minimised instead of being allowed to cause real damage.

    • True, education, technology, and greater exposure to one another can minimise prejudice and stereotyping, however, it cannot completely get rid of this unfortunate occurrence.

  9. Farah says:

    Racial prejudice is an insidious moral and social disease affecting peoples and populations all over the world. It is diagnosed by the cataloguing of its various symptoms and manifestations which include fear, intolerance, separation, segregation, discrimination, and hatred. While all of these symptoms of racial prejudice may be manifest, the single underlying cause of racial prejudice is ignorance. Historically, a race of people is defined as a population with distinguishable biological features.

    While all humans belong to the same species, Homo sapiens, races are distinguished from one another by such characteristics as hair color and texture, skin color, eye color and shape, size of limb and body parts, and facial organs. Though scientists have reached the conclusion that these differences amongst peoples are superficial and have further agreed that all members of the species Homo sapiens have more characteristics in common than different, mankind itself continues to view each other from the features that are outwardly perceived.

    Indeed, humans are outwardly different in appearance; the problem arises when the symptoms of the disease become evident: intolerance, separation, and hatred. In a positive vein, one may embrace the differences of peoples across the face of the earth and marvel at the uniqueness of individuals who live on a different part of the globe or across the street. Racial prejudice perverts this uniqueness of the races and takes the view that these differences separate individuals further into groups, with one group being inferior to the other.

  10. cheryl says:

    Racial prejudice affects everyone. Inasmuch as racial prejudice manifests itself in that people are “pre-judged” based on superficial characteristics, we must honestly conclude that all people “suffer” from this on various levels. When we don’t know an individual well, we consciously or unconsciously begin to characterize him or her based on what we see. Again, this is due to our ignorance of the person’s real character and personality. We will form opinions, often based along stereotypical lines: “all people of such and such race are. . .” We can fill in the blanks with such expectations that certain races are intellectually superior, others are full of avarice, another is more artistically or athletically inclined, still another has members who are apt to be dishonest, etc, etc. . . These ideas have been formed from society, media, and our own upbringing.

    Maybe these ideas have been taught directly or indirectly, acted out by one’s parents. Whatever the source, even the most enlightened member of a society will find that to some extent, he or she is judging another based on the superficial aspects of race.

    • The way parents educate their child will definitely have an impact in how the child sees the world. If the parent of a child has a fixed and unchanged impression toward a certain race for example, that can be instilled in the child. Since that is imprinted in the child’s mind at a young age, the child carries it with him as he grows older and it is just a vicious cycle that is inevitable as this influence can also be affected by one’s social circle.

  11. Mitch says:

    Racial prejudice has shaped the form of our present day societies; indeed, prejudice has shaped societies since time began. Wherever there are differences, there is fear, intolerance, and injustice.

    From Hitler and the Nazis to the Southern American slave owners, prejudice of one race against another has resulted in atrocities. To counteract the disease of racial prejudice, modern-day societies have drafted and enacted legislation to ensure that people “treat” each other with respect and dignity allowing one another their inalienable right to their pursuit of life and liberty. While man’s actions can be legislated, their hearts and fears cannot. Thus, I feel that society continues to suffer from this inevitable disease as prejudice and stereotyping cannot be rid.

  12. adder says:

    Just as a school bully can assert his power over a weaker student by pure physical intimidation, a minority group may be victimized by a more powerful majority which is insensitive to the needs and aspirations of that minority. Minority groups may be subjected to dehumanization experiences made to feel powerless by being subjected to degrading and humiliating experiences based on prejudice. Examples in history have been:

    African-Americans being forced to ride in the back of the bus
    German Jews being required to wear a yellow “Star of David”
    minorities being the subject of jokes which poke fun at the target’s race, religion, or ethnic origin, and which rely on stereotypes

    Minorities have also been the victims of violence based on their minority status. Minority institutions, such as places of worship, schools, and cemeteries, have been the target of vandalism, arson, and desecration.

    It is evident that prejudice has been around since the early years. It is instilled in one’s mind and even with education, the awareness of existing prejudice and stereotypes increases which results in this never-ending cycle.

    • Yes, it is a never ending cycle and it is proven since it prejudice and stereotyping have existed since the early years. It is unfortunate that the minority usually gets picked on and has to take unjust treatments that can sometimes be cruel and completely ridiculous.

  13. FM says:

    Yes, I agree with some of the comments made above, racial stigmas and stereotypes have been around for ages. There are of course very different levels. For instance, the human mind naturally “compartmentalize” things. So this could be the intrinsic basis for stereotypes. For example, in describing a criminal/theft/tv personality, it often goes something like: “African-American/Chinese, in his 30s, male…” ie (race,age,sex).

    To me, stereotypes are not necessarily all a bad thing. In Everybody hates Chris, yes, granted racial references to the African Americans are used, but none are at all derogatory, and most of the times the intent is entertaining audiences, not alienating a particular race. Other very popular TV shows with some referencing to race is “Outsourced” or in the comedy front, Russel Peters.

    There is however a line we must draw, when stereotype becomes or incites racism and bigotry. The question here is that if one person is racist, are they also more likely to be sexist/ageist etc? Or are these mutually exclusive?

    Personally, I think judging a person based solely on one physical attribute be it race/age/gender/religious beliefs should not be tolerated. That is in the ideal world. But for now, I think there is no harm in having some laughs over the very endearing Chris.

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