On Prejudice

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The word "bigot" is a powerful word. It is a word that many feel to be of the utmost offense, and yet, by definition, it is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. With this in mind, and human nature's impeccable ability to draw stereotypes for every type of person, can't we all be considered "bigots?" In Bill Cosby's short satire, "On Prejudice," this issue is concisely addressed and brought to it's knees through his use of sarcasm, and an ability to corner any stereotype by just simply bringing it to a clear, succinct truth. While many balked at the idea of racial prejudice and stereotypes during the 1970's, Cosby approached it with honesty and candor. His use of vulgar words, diffident body language, belittling tone, and biting disparagement allowed Cosby to effectively show society's lack of understanding and appreciation for the world's racial diversity.

In a time when prejudice was beginning to cower in the shadows as a product of the civil rights movement, Cosby recognized that while law had forbid discrimination, it still very much existed in our culture and society. "On Prejudice" was his way of addressing this delicate issue. The 1970's followed a decade of success among the civil rights movement; however, this success caused many to withdraw from still recognizing it as a problem. While discrimination was pronounced unlawful, Cosby addressed a different kind of prejudice; A prejudice that was subconscious and mendacious. "On Prejudice" opens with a wide shot of Cosby sitting on a stool beneath a single spotlight. The music is a single violin, playing a single chord. Cosby is smoking a cigar and slouched over the stool. The use of lighting and music is very effective in that it truly adds to the solitude of Cosby's ridicule. It is a keen way that he uses to single out prejudice, and it is very effective in that it gives a sense that bigotry is a lonely place to be. His body language and subtle movements...
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