Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Accidental Racist

Michael Richards. Unless I said he played Kramer on Seinfeld you wouldn't know who he was. Until yesterday.

Two things. 

First, I am sure if this questionably talented actor -- whose character on Seinfeld was probably not an act, but an alter personality -- had any idea that someone in the comedy club audience would use a cellphone to record what he was saying, he wouldn't have said it. I guarantee it.

Also, watching his racist meltdown versus hearing about it made all the difference. What he said was so outrageous that if we only heard about it we could almost dismiss the report as an exaggeration. Watching it eliminates all doubt.

Second, while he insists he's not a racist, he's probably like most white people who say they aren't racist -- they don't realize how much racism permeates their lives. Not on purpose, but as a natural result of being raised white. Oh, sure we'll borrow clothes, slang, and music from the black culture, but we'll lock our car doors and hold on to our purses when we're out. 

Most of us who want to claim we're not racist couldn't prove it if our lives depended on it.  And right now Michael Richards' career depends on it. 

He never would have used the "n" word that way, or any way, if he actually had a single black friend or acquaintance. The lynching reference was an especially nice touch. Referring to blacks as Afro-Americans during the apology is a sure sign that he's not hanging with any brothers.

Technically, the rules are that anyone can make fun of their own ethnic heritage, religion and sexual persuasion. Anyone else better be damn funny. Several people in the audience said they kept waiting for the punchline to his rant but it never came.

So Richards' mea culpa, for me, is more on the lines of, "Holy shit, I got caught doing something that the whole world can view over and over on the internet. If I'd known, I wouldn't have said anything. Who knew this could happen?"

As Paul Rodriguez said, "He committed suicide on stage."  Like OJ, his future plans have been cancelled.


ksquester said...

LIKE most comedians, I feel he is a mantic depressive with pcychotic eptisodes.  It's not an excuse as much as watching a person who has anger managment issues with perhaps a pyschotic breakdown just waiting in the wings.   I've seen this way too many times.   Anne

screaminremo303 said...

He would have been okay if he had just thrown the F-bomb at them and called them a bunch of punks. We all have meltdowns on occasion. We're just lucky no one is looking.

I prefer the derogatory term "f*ckstick" when addressing insolent people. By the time they get it, I've already got them in handcuffs.

ladeeoftheworld said...

Everybody IS a racist by our politically correct standards of modern society.  No one can say they are not.  Why is it only white people can be racists?  Double standards, I say.

jevanslink said...

White supremacy was pretty much the law of the land until recently, if you'll recall.   Mrs. L

jevanslink said...

Note to Kquester:  As for comedians being bipolar or anything else, my experience has been otherwise.  Next to regular actors they were WAY NORMAL by comparison.  Compared to civilians, they were just a helluva lot funnier.  Of all the people I've encountered in the entertainment world, the comedians were smarter, more grounded, and ten times more hilarious every time.  

Mrs. L

mombzbe said...

In the world we live in today, how can someone NOT know that cellphones like the one used to capture this rant are out there and ready to be whipped out at a moment's notice, precisely for this kind of thing?  Good gracious, just walk around the mall, and look at all the people talking on their cellphones.  They are everywhere.  Everywhere!  

There's not enough backpeddling in the world that will take back the video, which will be shown probably every time anyone mentions his name from here on out.  IF they ever mention his name from here on out...  You said it.  His future plans have been cancelled.

salemslot9 said...

I like Kramer
he must not be doing too good
since "Seinfeld" ended
OJ killed two people :(

jevanslink said...

Michael Richards KILLED his career.

Mrs. L

salemslot9 said...

I understand
I liked Kramer the character
I was just adding
that I think OJ did it
no offence
have a great day :)

salemslot9 said...

jeez, I can't do anything right
or is it "geez"?

suzypwr said...

I never saw Seinfeld or Kramer, but there is something I just don't get. If your ancestors come from France, you are French. If they are from England, you are English. If you are all mixed up and a mutt like I am, you are just American. If your ancestors, or even just one of them, maybe came from Africa, you want to be called African-American. Hello, you are here - you can be African, or American....or is this just me? I once asked my daughter what she would call a man of color living in England - she said African-American. I said, hm, how about African-British? That just doesn't sound right, does it? I prefer British. Or African. Who cares what color someone is?

Continuing my confusion, what about white people from Africa? Are they African or what when they come here to live?

But that Kramer guy, it sounds like he stuck his foot up his ass. Or something.