Well, by now, everyone is aware of the Michael Richards’ (Kramer on Seinfeld) tirade of racial insensitivity the other night at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. If not, here’s one of a thousand news stories to catch you up.
Anyway, also performing that night was Paul Rodriguez, who you should know if you followed stand-up comedy or ever watched one of those Comic Reliefs. Rodriguez made remarks about the unfortunate incident and commented on how if you are going to use the word “nigger” on stage, and you’re not black, you had better have a good reason and Richards didn’t. Rodriquez went on to say that this isn’t a word that should be in the vernacular anyway and made an opaque and almost under his breath call to “rappers” and others in the African-American community to quit using the word and popularizing it with young fans.
Now, what Michael Richards did was stupid, insensitive, demeaning, racist and wrong. Okay, that’s out of the way. Why it happened to be these two hecklers were able to get under his skin and bring this out of him, who knows. He made some sort of apology on David Letterman, via the influence of Jerry Seinfeld, but more than likely his career will be shattered. So don’t worry, Michael Richards is getting his, unlike Mel Gibson, who railed on the entire Jewish people while being arrested for a DUI and apparently didn’t even go to rehab like he said he would in his “apology”. (Is it me, or has he gone from cool dude, to scary guy with too much money and a penchant for movies acted in 2000-year-old dead languages?)
But here’s my point, if I have one, maybe we all need to stop using racial epithets, even in jest. When are we going to move past all this, on both sides? Yes, our ethnic ancestors have all done bad things to one another in the past and we continued to do so even now, but there is going to have to come a time on this planet where we all collectively forgive each other and move on. We’re never gonna get anywhere as a civilization if we continue to be concerned with a past we can’t do anything to change. So teach your kids to be kind and fair. To judge people on who they are and their actions, not what they look like or where they come from. Stop assuming that someone is good or bad because of the socio-economic status or the height of their pants (by the way, the saggy pant thing, is not okay on anyone over the age of 18 who isn’t a famous rapper getting paid to look that way. 30 year old fathers with droopy jeans and baseball caps on sideways while in Wal-mart are not cool.)
But what about comedy? What about poking fun at people through satire? I don’t know, look at Borat, that movie is funny, but it’s based on a “character” who is racist, sexist and ignorant. But it’s funny because 1) it’s a joke 2) what he does is so out there you can’t believe he gets away with it and 3) because the real people in the film are not acting, they are saying what they believe and you can’t fathom that they would feel that way in this day and age nor that they would say those things while on camera. So while that movie is hysterical, it’s also a little sad. He exposes parts of this country we try to forget about and I’m glad there back in the spot light. It’s not about appearing to not be racially insensitive people, it’s about NOT being racially insensitive or a bigot, ever.
Well, that’s my rant on that, a little late, forgot to post this before Thanksgiving, oh well, confidentially trying to be a better person, Mr. Rickey.
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