Killermann Makes Serious Issues Comical
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
On Thursday night, Sam Killermann told an audience in Higgins 300 stories from his life, including highlights such as losing a nipple to his mom’s double dog dare and answering the house phone as Batman until age 15.
The comedian’s upbeat demeanor and self-deprecating humor encouraged laughs and quickly captured the audience’s attention. The performance, a one man comedy show titled “It’s Pronounced Metrosexual,” was sponsored by the UGBC community relations department, the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC), and the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC).
Killermann began his performance by relating some college stories about women mistaking him as gay because he “looks real clean and talks good,” as one woman said. Although his performance relied on comedy to engage the audience, Killermann also addressed some highly sensitive social issues. In particular, Killermann related his own experiences with labels and the oppression that still exists in modern society.
In his show, Killermann presented three levels of stereotyping: prejudice, discrimination, and oppression. The first level, prejudice, inherently exists within each human being.
“People naturally categorize what’s around them,” Killermann said. “It’s an innate survival technique. We can’t expect ourselves not to do this. But we can try and control it.”
Now, there are some well-intentioned people who fail to address their natural prejudices and attempt to jump right to being an “ally,” Killermann said. He argued, though, that it is important to acknowledge our own prejudices before we actively fight against discrimination. Even the positive prejudices, such as gay men being clean and Asians being smart, must be acknowledged and dispelled because they create unrealistic expectations and alienate those who fail to comply with the stereotype.
Killermann then discussed how failing to control natural prejudice results in discrimination: a person acting on his prejudice and censuring a group of peoples. Discrimination unfortunately leads to the worst level of stereotyping, oppression: an entire group of people discriminating against another group.
At this point in the show, Killermann called on some UGBC, ALC, and GLC students to come forward and read some startling facts concerning oppression against the GLBTQ community. In 33 states, it is legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation, and in 42 states it is legal to fire people for being transgender. Only 14 states specifically protect gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights, but even fewer—three—protect transgender rights.
Perhaps worst of all, the GLBTQ community represents 30 percent of all teen suicides. After these facts were read out, a quick poll revealed that the majority of the audience was unaware of these statistics.
The comedy show had undeniably taken a depressing turn at this point of the evening, but Killermann still managed to end the show on a positive note. He asserted that we can all make the world a better place if we adhere to the “Platinum Rule.”
This rule supersedes the preschool “Golden Rule” of treating others how “you” want to be treated. The “Platinum Rule” calls on everyone to treat others how “they” want to be treated, and if you don’t know how they want to be treated, just ask.