This Week in Blackness: 2009 is the New 1952

July 24, 2009 5 Comments

The Brooklyn Comedy Company Proudly Presents the 4th Episode of season 2 of This Week in Blackness. In the latest episode host Elon James White talks about the past few weeks in so-called post-racial America…and this was even BEFORE the incident involving Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates that happened a few days ago, right in IISC‘s backyard. (For more on that connection and an extension of last week’s lively discussion on same,  check out Princeton Professor and MSNBC regular Melissa Harris Lacewell’s recent blog in “The Nation” entitled “Skip Gates and the Post-Racial Project”.)

What follows is edgy (be forewarned), but in a brilliant sort of way.  It’s always a risk to share satire of this sort, in shall we say, mixed company.  I am reminded of comedic genius of Dave Chappelle and the complexities of his decision some time ago to walk away from a huge Hollywood contract in light of his misgivings about racially themed satire and how whites and blacks received it differently. I am also reminded of a comment made by a participant in a Facilitative Leadership training Curtis and I co-led this week in the nation’s capital, after Curtis’ artful framing of the role of “leader as  designer” (of processes that bring people together and create conditions for productivity, connection and action). Out of this group of somewhat cynical, savvy, Beltway insiders, someone remarked, “Yes, that’s what we in DC are missing a lot of in our work – beauty in the design of our work”.

In my humble opinion, it takes a lot of smarts to be funny, provocative, insightful and beautifully artistic at once.  Both Chappelle and White exhibit that kind of artistic genius that can make us laugh…when we might otherwise cry, hate, kill or self-destruct.

What are your reactions?


  • Chris Toppin says:

    Thank you, Melinda! I am always amazed at how genius comedic types Like Elon James White, in your video post, and others have always been able to shine a humorous light on sometimes painful or seemingly untouchable issues, allowing us to either relate to the pain and laugh, or open our eyes and ears and laugh, when we might otherwise have shut down to an alternate perspective. This post reminds me of the enormous importance humor has played and continues to play in our society. I really don’t know what we’d do without those brave and clever people who share that gift with the world.
    P.S. Come back to us Dave Chappelle!

  • Linda says:

    OK, so call me a loser – but I can’t find the video. Can you help???

  • Melinda says:

    Video is up and running again.
    For a another perspective on the Skip Gates incident and the post-racial absurdity of it all,
    journalist Toure is in point IMHO:

  • Charlie says:

    I don’t get it…


    (just kidding)

    This is totally brilliant – thanks for sharing this MEW.

  • Melinda says:

    Ha! Glad you enjoyed it, Charlie. 🙂

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