The Magazine

Black Humor

One-liners from the national conversation on race.

Aug 3, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 43 • By ZACK MUNSON
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Family Guy: Racist but brotha friendly.

Democrats: Used to be racist and not brotha friendly. They're still racist but very brotha friendly.

Watermelon and fried chicken: Very racist but extremely brotha friendly.

Wilmore argues that the way to end racism is to end the flagrant misuse of the term, as he succinctly and refreshingly notes: "[N]ot everything that seems racist is racist. The problem is that people are so touchy these days everything gets that label just to avoid conflict. Though what ends up happening is more conflict is created by falsely labeling a nonracist incident." And unlike many comics and politicians (black and white) who deal with race, Wilmore does not seek to shock, appall, or enrage. He seeks to poke fun and make light of the many foibles, quirks, and predilections to which we race-obsessed Americans are prone.

I'd Rather We Got Casinos is not shocking, or deliberately offensive, or an assault on the senses, or a polemic, or even particularly political. Much of it isn't uproariously, laugh-out-loud hilarious. But it is, at times, amusing. And well written. And honest. Short and to the point. In good fun. Some of Wilmore's modest proposals are even well argued. His writing, his whole book, his whole attitude is lighthearted, self-deprecating, without rancor-everything that our serious, cloying, dishonest, drab, long-winded, morally inconsistent, self-aggrandizing, bitter, buzz-kill of a national conversation on race is not.


Zack Munson is a writer and comedian.