Examining Racial Taboo through X-phemism in the TV Show Black-ish
Taboos occur in everyday life as part of language and culture. One typical way of addressing them is through euphemism; however, sometimes the taboo is broken in informal, interpersonal or joking situations in phenomena like friendly banter or playing the dozens. With this in mind, this article aims to analyze the linguistic resources employed in the US sitcom Black-ish (2014-) to convey the boundaries between the need for respect for black racial backgrounds and the breaking of existing taboos for shock value or in friendly environments within the humorous context projected by the series. To this end, we rely on appraisal theory. The results will show how the series uses x-phemism and polarization as major resources of the black community to reflect their assimilation, separation, integration or marginalization in the United States in the twenty-first century.
Keywords: racial taboo; x-phemism; playing the dozens; Black-ish; humor; appraisal theory
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