Marcia Dawkins, a professor of communications at USC, shows up in the pilot to discuss how the “blacks love fried chicken” stereotype is actually tied to slavery, because long hours meant trying to find a food that would last a long time. In the same episode, Pete McGraw, a professor of psychology at UC Boulder, discusses how a thing as simple as people liking a particular food became a negative stereotype and a go-to insult by explaining that poultry has a lower financial status than, say, steak and because fried chicken tends to be associated with being uncouth because you eat it with your hands.
In the first batch of episodes that AOL On released this week (a second batch will be released in March), Epps makes sure that no one group is off limits: we get “Jews Are Cheap,” “Asians Can’t Drive,” “Muslims Are Terrorists,” and “White Men Can’t Jump.” They all follow roughly the same format, but the most important thing is, again, exploring the context in which these stereotypes were invented, revealing little-known facts such as what the “Asians Can’t Drive” stereotype has to do with the particular way roads are in certain Asian countries, and how driving there differs from driving in America.
The episodes aren’t uproariously funny, but they do each provide some chuckles. In the opening to every installment — each of which only runs six to seven minutes — Epps asks, “Are we going to offend people? Hell yeah!” But his enthusiasm is a bit unwarranted. That’s Racist doesn’t offend, but instead entertains and educates.