The Office: Diversity Day

For this exchange, students from Stanford and the American University in Cairo posted and commented on each other’s analyses of political cartoons and advertisements.

The video clip utilizes doubling, incongruity, and surprise. It is seen as humorous because the boss is trying to appear sensitive towards the diversity seen in the office. He tries to relate to the feelings of others in the minority, but makes silly mistakes. He tries to be culturally sensitive, but actually comes off as culturally unaware. In addition, the ignorance he shows when his employees try to correct his errors only adds to the humor. An American audience would see this as humorous because diversity and cultural sensitivity are emphasized in American society. We try to make the work place a society where everyone feels welcome.

The use of doubling makes the clip humorous because the audience is presented with a stereotypical work place set-up, but the situation and characters are very different from what we would expect. This creates incongruity.

Incongruity is apparent in this clip because in theory, the boss is supposed to be the most capable of all those who are working in the office. However, the boss is the least aware and he does not understand that he is the one who needs the diversity training even more than his subordinates.

It is surprising when the boss says he is two-fifteenths Indian, especially because it is not a realistic fraction, so we know it is most likely untrue. He also corrects the African-American employee when he says, “It’s collard greens.” The boss responds, “That’s offensive, we don’t call them collard people.” This reveals that the boss is not as intelligent as we would expect, which surprises us, and creates humor.

Aziza & Coral

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This entry was posted in CCR exchange: Stanford-AUC, Fall 2010: Political Cartoons and Ads analysis. Bookmark the permalink.

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