Over the weekend, Amy Schumer defended herself to critics who take issue with her racist jokes. In a piece published on The Guardian, writer Monica Heisey both praised the comedian’s successful year and feminist comedy while also taking note of Schumer’s “shockingly large blind spot around race.”
Heisey makes an apt point: While Schumer’s feminist, dismantle-the-patriarchy takedowns on Inside Amy Schumer remain smart and measured, her race politics leave much to be desired and can certainly border on offensive (and are just not that clever or funny) — a problem that is especially on display in her old stand-up specials. But it makes sense: Schumer is great at attacking the patriarchy in her jokes because she’s a woman who has experienced what she’s joking about; she’s not great at race jokes because she’s a white woman who hasn’t experienced the world in the way that people of color have.
Amy Schumer defended herself on her Twitter account with a statement explaining her intentions — “I go in and out of playing an irreverent idiot. That includes making dumb jokes about race.” — and falling back on that old “It’s a joke!” standby — “You can call it a ‘blind spot for racism’ or ‘lazy’ but you are wrong. It is a joke and it is funny. I know that because people laugh at it.” It’s hardly a poignant statement, and she insists that she’ll continue with these jokes rather than “joking about safe material.” You can read her full statement below.