This clip comes from comedian Louis CK’s stand-up routine, featured in the 2008 special “Chewed Up”. In it, he muses on the priveleges that are associated with being a white male, as well as the often dangerous disadvantages that have historically come with being anything other than a white male. He considers the case of a time machine: “Here’s how great it is to be white: I can get in a time machine and go to any time, and it would be f***ing awesome when I get there! That is exclusively a white privilege.” The clip has been the subject of debate and controversy among viewers. Some see Louis CK as providing a constructive voice to point out issues of white privelege. Others believe he perpetuates racist stereotypes and fails to acknowledge the racism that still exists post-1980s.
What do you think are Louis CK’s intentions in delivering this comedy routine? Does he aim to deconstruct racism? Is he simply celebrating the privelege that comes with being a white male, not critiquing it?
Consider how the “time machine” bit would be received if it were delivered by someone other than a white male — for instance, by a man or woman of color. Would your response be the same? Different? Why?