At a ripe 57 years old, you’d think he would understand self-control. Michael Richards missed that life lesson last week when he went on a disgusting, racist rant at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, in response to being heckled by two audience members.
Ironically, humor was noticeably absent during his loose-lipped affair.
He could have ended his tirade with the f-bombs he tossed. But instead, he spewed a barrage of racist remarks toward the two, making references to lynching, and shouting the N-word repeatedly.
The two men reacted by doling out their share of f-bombs and a racial slur.
While Richards’ reaction to the two men surprised us, we are not surprised by his message. Richards’ fluid use of the expletive showed that such feelings resided in him long before last week. Richards, who has since issued an apology, said he’s not a racist.
Well, he sure fooled us.
Either he’s a great impersonator or he really is a racist at heart who finally showed his true colors.
While surprise is an appropriate emotion, we certainly should not be too shocked. Mel Gibson had his 15 minutes for anti-Semitic statements he made while drunk. Drunk or not, Gibson has an upcoming special on ABC.
Perfect punishment right?
It’s likely that Richards will get similar harsh punishment.
Because the issue of race continues to be one that is shoved under the rug, and its discussion neglected, many in this country still harbor ill feelings about race that are repressed, feelings that will eventually come to the surface.
What we can learn from that ugly incident is how important it is to continue
to have free, open dialogue about race in this country.
Racism has not disappeared as some would like to think and it probably won’t disappear in our lifetime. If it happened
in Los Angeles with a has-been celeb, it can surely happen right here on a college campus.
What we need to do is figure out how we can discuss the issues regarding race in educated, productive and respectful ways. We won’t solve the problem in a day, or a semester.
But we can certainly begin.
And we’re doing it right here.
Here on this campus, we can begin by having each semester an open forum to discuss such issues.
Like most lectures on campus, it would be free and open to students and faculty alike, with professors and student leaders serving as moderators. A healthy dialogue about race might prevent one of us from going on an irresponsible, hateful rant like Richards’.
So we’re presenting the challenge. Let’s start this dialogue here, now.