Summary: In this short clip from his stand-up performance on Comedy Central's "Live at Gotham," Hari Kondabolu discusses the racism often aimed at Mexican immigrants in the form of stereotypes, or unreliable generalizations about all members of a group that do not recognize individual differences. A stereotype can be a claim about an essential personality trait of all people in a group, as when all Mexicans are derided as lazy. It can also be a claim about the motivations or objectives of all people in a group, as when someone suspects Mexicans are taking all "our" jobs. Kondabolu jokes about the logical contradiction suggested in the idea of lazy Mexicans who are all after American jobs. But I think Kondabolu also puts his finger on a common feature of stereotypes. Even if Mexican immigrants could debunk one generalization by achieving exceptionally high levels of employment, they would only be confirming another—i.e., their greedy pursuit of American jobs. Thus stereotypes belong to a system of ideas; one which is not designed to be overthrown, but instead to stabilize power and privilege. Note that this clip contributes to The Sociological Cinema's growing collection of comedy clips that are useful for illustrating or beginning a discussion about sociological concepts.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist