race relations…..

so there we were… after working at the healthcare symposium here in chicago… at the world famous comedy club zanies. great laughs, great friends who we dont get to see often enough… and a night out on the town. went to our favorite haunt, the spice house and got great rubs and marinades that’ll last us for the year.
then it happened.
the young white comedian was on a roll…and he was funny. he made a bunch of word play puns, jokes, that were very clever and entertaining. all jokes felt like they were given and taken in good humor.
however, one joke, which i didnt find to be over the line, caught the sensitivity of some of ppl at a table in the mid to back section of the club. next thing i knew there were ppl leaving the club out the front door, right past the next comedian coming up (a black man) waving their arms angrily and saying how we were wrong to allow the bigotry… that the previous comic was racist and had ‘issues’.
did i miss something?
it seemed like equal opportunity joking and punning. however, these ppl felt the need to get angry and to let the entire club know that. they called for all people of color to boycott this place.
this was a trip.
especially since the next act was a black man who, like some other black folk who didnt leave, werent offended.
it was uncomfortable- to say the least. the crowd was blown away. the comedian was stunned. he really had a hard time doing his act. and about 6 ppl who left were really, really pissed off.
so what happened?
why were these people so offended. well, as i saw it, it was really two women who were angry. they were very loud in expressing that. there was no indication that the other people who left were upset. it was possible that they werent and that they left because of the one or two ladies. if that was the case, i thought to myself, then look at the power that one person can yield in creating a fight- a division between groups of people. what if this lady was just having a terrible day- perhaps a loved one was diagnosed with a terrible disease, or she lost her job or a neighbor was killed in iraq. what if she was just ‘short’ on the emotional trigger and there was no racial slur and their was no insult perceived but that she was just having a lousy day?
we will never know.
we do know that this lady, in the name of defending her people, was livid and borderline violent. we do know that the other people in the room were very very uncomfortable and we know that this added to fear and distrust between people.
gets me thinking about wars, feuds, gangs and more… and how they could be started and perpetuated by one person having a lousy day. could that really be? could it be as simple as that? are we so vulnerable as to be threatened by one person’s anger and their ability to influence others?


2 responses to “race relations…..

  1. Most likely because of their past experiences, and current experiences…usually I find that individuals that are easily offended by jokes are because they are racist themselves. Nevertheless, indignant behavior is not something that is attractive behavior. The only thing that this person or persons accomplished was to ruin other peoples good time. How selfish of them.

  2. Ginger Hennessey

    David, You ‘re wonderful and yes it is amazing how one persons Characteristics of attitude are very contagious… Yet as you pointed out we all should step back and think before responding, we have an idea or clue what that person may be going through.. I know I am of the rare breed, maybe that’s why I relate with you so well… Blessings on a Fabulous trip, look forward to seeing you soon!

    🙂 Ginger

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