The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

On Micheal Richards' rant

Comedian Michael Richards is the latest in a long string of celebrities who have gotten into trouble with words or actions. So at a local comedy club, he heckled an audience member with the dreaded “N-word.”   Is he a racist?  I don’t know, and would be more inclined to think so if fewer blacks accepted the “nigger” as a normal part of conversation.  It does create a confusing situation. (Tananarive just came back from a Bible study class at our church, and said that our Minister was saying the same exact thing!)  That said, he had no damned business saying what he did, but I do know that comedians attack hecklers as hard as they can—and it often crosses the bounds of “good taste.”  The fact that this particular transgression dealt with ethnicity, and recent racial history as opposed to height, attractiveness, weight, or some other factor automatically attracts attention. But separate from some testimony about Mr. Richard’s actions, this is hardly definitive.  Bad taste?  Sure.  But racist?  Do you mean would he be less likely to take blood from you or give to a black man?  Wouldn’t want you to live next door to him or go to his school?  For a black kid to date his son or daughter, or vote for Barack Obama? 

I really don’t know, and one nervous, angry rant doesn’t say anything definitive.  Except that he’s something of an ass, really.
And that his show, “Seinfeld,” was rather famous for its lack of dark folks.  Just a coincidence, I’m sure…

1 comment:

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