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Amy Schumer Defends Herself Against Accusations She Has a "Large Blind Spot Around Race"

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schumer 1.jpgThe Amy Schumer "backlash" -- or, at least, a harder look at her after what felt like months in which the comedian could do no wrong -- is real. With sketch after sketch on her show being picked up and run as "perfect" by media outlets (including this one), funny appearances at award shows, and a generally higher, mainstream profile for her ongoing project, it was inevitable that she would eventually come under increased scrutiny (no honeymoon period lasts forever). Recently, The Guardian published a piece in which writer Monica Heisey claims that Schumer has a "shockingly large blind spot around race." (Check out the original essay for examples and context.) Schumer responded on Twitter:

Look: much of the comedy the original essay highlights is more nuanced than it would appear, and certainly expecting perfection from comedians (who are increasingly treated as people with Important Things to Say) is probably an ultimately disappointing endeavor, at best. But that doesn't mean anyone should be free from criticism. 

Sticking by a project that is frequently great, funny, and incisive is laudable, especially if Schumer believes in it enough to be willing to commit to statements at a level of public visibility that will likely invite potential criticism. But the impulse to shut down criticism and claim you are worthy of nothing but praise because of who you say you are -- telling people to "move on to the next person who is more deserving of your scrutiny" -- is the equivalent of pulling a Jedi mind trick, claiming "this is not the insensitive humor you're looking for." Such a move makes it harder for critics to engage in good faith, which is too bad, since there's a lot of useful discussion this could produce.

The use of the phrase "blind spot" in the original comments is helpful here -- it implies that, with a little more information and willingness to learn and empathize from everyone involved, the problem would, if not go away, at least be a lot more manageable. Time to put the work in.


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