Adam Sandler and his project The Ridiculous Six have come under fire thanks to racist humor targeted at Native Americans. A dozen Native American extras are said to have walked off the set of the Sandler movie after taking a look at the script. While some may quip that seeing the name “Adam Sandler” is enough of a reason to walk, racist stereotypes are not a laughing matter.
According to the angry extras, the Sandler film was disrespectful of Native women, elders, and religious customs. It’s not very surprising when you consider that many of these negative depictions are found in many films. If it isn’t the sexualized portrayal of Native American women and girls, it’s quite common for Native American tribes and customs to be treated as indistinguishable from one another.
In 2015, is understandable that persons of Native American heritage are tired of Hollywood’s inability to let go of hurtful stereotypes, often using humor as an excuse for the dated depictions. So it hardly helps when Netflix representatives attempt to use “we’re laughing with you” as a means of dismissing rage and concern expressed by the extras.
“The movie has ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous. It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of, but in on the joke.”
The problem with this explanation (and it is as pathetic as it sounds) is that white members of the Hollywood establishment don’t have the right to let other groups “in on the joke” of racist humor. If it were Native Americans making a satire of their own experiences as a people, particularly in white Western movies, this explanation would stand. But simply put, Adam Sandler and everyone associated with this movie should be ashamed of themselves.
Not just for putting out what will no doubt be a sub-par movie, but for dragging Native Americans and their culture through the mud for kicks. We already know that an Adam Sandler movie will not possess enough intelligence to pull off an accurate commentary about how incorrectly and “ridiculously” Western-themed movies have treated Native Americans. If the extras read Sandler’s script and then walked, it’s doubtful what they saw translated to “in on the joke.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 24, 2015
Adam Sandler’s movie isn’t the first to come under fire over racial humor this year. Get Hard, a Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy, was ripped by critics because of jokes that played on racial stereotypes as well. That movie was a comedy but was not spared by reviewers and moviegoers. It’s possible that the so-called jokes by Adam Sandler will be given the same treatment regardless of the excuse or justification.
What do you think of the Sandler racism complaints? Do you think Adam Sandler should still be making movies at this point? Please share your thoughts below!
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