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The price of the punch line : analyzing ethnic humor’s ability to change racial understandings on The Goldbergs
Mary E. Christensen
May 13, 2015
Department or Program
Race and Ethnic Studies
Some scholars critique ethnic humor’s progressive potential, claiming that it relies on stereotypes for its comic effect and therefore cannot change racial understandings. The 1930’s radio show, The Goldbergs, deviates from this pattern: it was a comic show about a Jewish family that ran just as Jewishness was becoming conflated with whiteness. By intersecting 1930’s Jewish-American identity, the nature of radio in race production, and theories of ethnic humor, this thesis explores how an ethnic comedy came to undermine, rather than reinforce, the perception of its Jewish characters as "others."