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Kramer vs. Kramer

Michael Richards better known as Kramer on Seinfeld totally lost it in a performance at Los Angeles’s Laugh Factory on Friday night. He apologized this evening on the David Letterman Show. The clip includes footage from his extremely offensive outburst as reported on Keith Olbermann's Countdown followed by the Letterman segment. More on the story here, Seinfeld Star's racist rant



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Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Late Show with Dave Letterman


 

Comments

His outburst was bad, out of line, and his appology wasn't much better.

Some people say it is okay for black people to use the word, because it is used as a friendly phrase, rather than a derogatory one. Whether that's true is one issue -- but I'd like to hear what you think about the other one: That Chris Rock very definitely used the word in a derogatory sense in his "No one hates niggers more than black people"-routine.

I think Kramer's outburst was small potatoes, compared to Mad Max's...

That’s some pretty damning footage, and I doubt that Michael Richards’s career will ever be able to recover from something like that. And while I was one of those people grinning gleefully as Mel Gibson’s career went down the toilet, I can’t help but feel really sorry for Richards. Most of it is Seinfeld nostalgia, but I can sort of emphathize with what he’s done. While what he said was totally inexcusable and he probably deserves to be kicked off his D-list throne for it, I do sort of understand what led him to act so horribly. Here’s why: According to what I’ve read on the internet, Richards is just an actor and doesn’t really have all that much experience in standup comedy. There’s a report on his imdb profile from an audience member on one of the nights before he lost it and they describe his act as being extremely unfunny, basically just him standing around talking incoherantly about politics. Physical comedy is his forte and standup’s something that he’s pretty green at. Having done standup myself, I can say that the first time you get heckled, it’s a totally surreal experience. There’s a complete loss of control and it’s a situation where you’ll do anything to win the crowd back. It’s very stressful and I can understand how it could lead an newbie like Richards to wind up saying something regretful. Still, what Richard’s said goes above and beyond “something regretful”. There’s a lot of hate and virtrol in his rant, which is what makes it so hard to watch. As a huge Seinfeld fan, I’m hoping that Richard’s racial slurs are just him grasping at straws. EVERYONE has a bit of racism inside of them thanks to the lousy society we live in and when you’re being attacked in a high pressure situation, sometimes you desperately end up going for the most obvious thing for a comeback–in this case, the heckler’s race. But even so, Richards attacks the guy in the clip way harder than just a simple racial slip up would warrant. If you’ve ever seen the clip of Andy Kaufman’s appearance of the 1980’s comedy SNL rip-off “Fridays”, you’ll know that Richard’s has a problem with rage. What could have been a cutesy prank got blown way out of proportion by Richards’ over-reacting. He’s got a history of flying off the handle, and I’m pretty sure that’s what happened that night. I’m not saying what he did was okay, but I do sort of understand how he wound up here.

Either that, or he’s a full-out racist on drugs.

You know, when you're really angry with someone and you want to verbally take them down, it sometimes becomes your instinct to sink to lower levels than you would normally stoop to in order to get them where it hurts. If a man yells at a woman, suddenly she's a whore, a cunt, a bitch, slut, etc. None of it may be true, but we just categorize people by gender or race because it's easier to associate them with a stereotype to bring them down, especially when we don't know who they are, than to come up with intelligent and accurate rebuttles while under pressure.

I'm hesitant to take sides though, because while I don't think he handled the situation well at all, if you think about it, the audience members provoking him weren't exactly saints. I don't think there's a person on earth that enjoys the people who chat it up in a movie theater; In a perfect world they'd be banned from public shows and they'd have to rent the dvd instead. This is why you can hear laughter in the background as he's yelling at them. Those guys didn't belong in the audience in the first place.

Greg: "When you're really angry with someone and you want to verbally take them down, it sometimes becomes your instinct to sink to lower levels than you would normally stoop (...)."

I'd agree with you, if he'd just thrown the n-word at them, a couple of times. But this long diatribe, things like "fifty years ago, we'd have.." and so on - this indicates an ugly mindset which he probably keeps in check, usually, but nevertheless is there. Sorry, I like "Seinfeld", too. And I like the Kramer character. But I like "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon" and "Braveheart", as well. But I don't like Mel Gibson's mind...

Bizarre, simply bizarre.

How does a person say something like "50 years ago we'd have you upside down with a fork in your ass", and NOT have racist demons within them? He should have owned up to it, but instead he went on some rambling homily on Hurricane Katrina. He had two days to think about what happened and THIS is how he dealt with it.

He doesn't get it.

I also agree he didn't handle it the best, but his shouts of "Does that shock you?" to me shows that his intent was not to be demeaning outright (in a Phelps kind of way) but to pretty much play a taboo trump card to shut people up.

The most interesting aspect of it is when the heckling audience members shout back "You cracker-ass motherf-er." There are countless double-standards in society, but it doesn't make them any less ironic or hypocritical when they present themselves.

I haven't actually seen Richards' stand-up act other then this or old Tonight Show appearences, but maybe he should take a lesson from Carlin on how to handle hecklers as he's a genius with that.

I feel bad for him. He seems genuinely devastated by what he's done. But I have to say, and this is obviously just me, but when I get pissed mad at someone, racial or sexual epithets are not where I go, or have ever gone. I'll call someone an asshole, a fucking asshole, something along those lines, but those racial words are just not in me.

That being said, I wonder. I wonder whether they might come out of me. I just can't imagine it. But I wonder.

One of my favourite movies is one called "A Bronx Tale" about an Italian boy who falls for a black girl. At one point in the movie, he gets pissed off at the girl's brother and calls him 'nigger.' He is shocked by what he's said. Here's a guy who has a huge crush on a black person, yet the word comes out. How does this happen?

I've seen this as a Jew. I've seen it in comments on this blog, and with people who I know not to be bigots. Yet anti-Jewish comments come out. And you're shocked.

I guess all we can do is call people on this crap. The fact that Americans are shocked by this is a good sign, I guess. America has come some way if people are shocked and outraged by this. That's a good thing.

Haworth Says,

Those guys didn't belong in the audience in the first place.

Where do they belong then? You have already chosen sides evidently. The gentlemen heckling had every right to be in the comedy club vicinity. They had purchased a ticket I believe that entitled them to entrance, but they had no right to heckle, and so did Mr. Richards have no right to curse back at them in racist remarks. Two wrongs don't make a right, but wow. Mr. Richards just brought out a deep embedded racist out of himself. He is a racist and it made me laugh with the audience of the David Letterman show once he tried to look serious by saying he isn't a racist. Mr. Richards should be ashamed of himself, because people in anger don't automatically think of racial remarks when they are angry. That is a copp out to say such a thing Haworth. The people who say racial remarks out of anger, are racist straight and simple. These racist's are worse than any skinhead, klu klux klan member, tribal leaders. They are much more worse of a racist I believe. Those that keep their racist hate bottled up and hidden are far worse than any Klu Klux Klan man. These are the people in our society that we all live with each and every single day. These are the people who look past qualifications of an individual and mistreat hiring practices, the people who lock their doors once they see a minority in a parking lot passing by, the people who hold their purses tight into their armpits when a person of minority walks pass them on the sidewalk. These are the people far worse than any openly bigotted racist. Mr. Richards is pathetic for not just admitting he has some racist hate within him.

WOW.. I find it funny how some whites try to justify the racism. "Oh they were talking....so i should call them a N". Please, sometimes white people really show their true colors when they get mad, like he did.

And as far as the reference to "a Bronx Tale"..lets be real, white men have ALWAYS lusted after our women the same way white women lust after black men. Just because you want to screw a chick from another race doesn't mean you aren't racist...look at "monsters ball".

I accept Michael Richards apologies and I hope the people he insulted do too. He is obviously ashamed and deeply sorry for the way he acted. But I also hink that if it's not okay for white people to use the word, it shouldn't be okay for anybody else to use it (even african americans). And unfortunately in this country we glorify the use of that word by comedians, rappers and people in showbusiness who happen to be black. Consider: we wouldn't have heard any of this had it been an african american comic instead of Michael Richards. How is it acceptable that one segment of the population can have complete control of a word to the extent that anybody outside that group using the word in question will be scorned and ostracized? Granted, this was an extreme case, Richards was obviously filled with racism, anger and hate when he used the word. Still, a white person cannot use that word in the same friendly, playful, and warmhearted way in which african americans use it. Just some thoughts, I'm not sure I've really arrived at anything here. For the moment I just think everybody should refrain from using the word until we decide to either banish it for good or make it acceptable for all to use.

Personally, I think this is way overblown and I don't think the media should be making that big of a deal out of it. Richards is a racist the same way we're all racists in that we see people and we make assumptions or assertions about them. You can see it in this thread.

Take bigAl for example "Please, sometimes white people really show their true colors when they get mad, like he did"

Automatically, he's assumed that all white people have these feelings about black people. If this is true, then Richards and every other white person is a racist. If it's not, then bigAl is a racist since he's made an incorrect assertion about a "race" of people.

I also take issue with Oddman's belief that "closet racists" (read: everybody) are worse than members of the KKK or white supremacists and that anyone who throws out a racist remark or even THINKS about minorities or whites in a certain way is racist. Once again, this concept is self-defeating since we all have some sort of forethought about people. To assume that anyone who thinks in this way is a racist is yet another form of prejudice, closeted, which make Oddball no better (maybe even worse by his standards) than a Klansman.

Richards got flustered and pissed off and tried to make some kind of "edgy" comedy thing out of his anger. It blew up in his face. Tough titty!

CERTAINLY, Jerry Seinfeld could be hurt financially by this.

Such is life.

Oh how I love hypocrisy. Crass generalizations are the core of racism. The african-american who thinks that all white people are racists is just as bad as the white people who actually are.

WOW... Baiting the hook with hyperbole and absolute conditionals bigAl?

Somebody ALWAYS seems to bite.

ho hum.... Richards career is over, again.

I can't believe we're referencing crappy movies to back up our points about the racial divide. It's ridiculous and disheartening to see that there's such misunderstanding and miscommunication on both sides of this issue.

It looks to me like kramer went after the hip edgy approach ala David Cross and ended up spewing insanely racist garbage, because, well, he's probly a bit of a racist. there was no point to it, no punchline, so it's not something that can be explained away. it wouldn't have been unforgivable to say some of those words in a certain context, but to just erupt like that is pretty fucked up.

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It's all O.J.'s fault, stirring up all these feelings after all these years. I'm just glad '"IF" I did it' surfaced after the elections. Curse words are generated by the "right brain," in contrast to left brain normal speech (I think). It seems Kramer's right brain temporarily seized the controls!

Thanks for showing the full interview with Letterman. In it, Richards seems dismayed with himself as much as by what happened. He seems genuinely contrite, although he is confused, rambling, and maybe sedated.

I have watched the unexpurgated version of the video a couple of times. It seems like he immediately went for a kind of shock and awe tactic to shut the hecklers up. He seemed to be trying to throw it back in their faces, but he was too close to hatefulness to keep it under control, and lost it. When the hecklers (or someone in the audience) responded that Richards' words were uncalled for and inappropriate, his rant was instantly deflated and any edginess it might have had vanished, leaving only the sad spectacle of him trying to justify being on stage. I think some of the things he says to himself while on stage are telling: "ooh this shocks you", "Is this too much for you?". When the guy gets up to leave, Richards asks, "Where is he going? Is he leaving?". This, to me suggests that he was not trying to drive the guy out, only to silence him, and that he may not have realized until that point that he had actually crossed a line. He still tries to engage the guy, calling him "pal", and explaining that that's the kind of talk you get from "a white guy" when you interrupt his act. But from that point, Richards' on-stage performance becomes pitiful. When told he is a no-talent, he replies sarcastically but sadly, too, "I'm just a wash-up", but as the significance of this confrontation sinks in, he says, as much to himself as to others, "There's still those words, those words..."

The risk of this kind of routine is that it can backfire, and if it does, it's never going to be pretty. The routine depends on being on the edge of propriety and "good taste", and it is inherently offensive. Richards drove it over the edge into the mud, and his audience was splattered. He is paying for it now, but he seems to me (based on nothing but this clip and my naive faith in the goodness of others) to be genuinely contrite.

Since actions speak louder than words, the next move is up to him. I would hesitate to wag the finger of racism at Richards too quickly; it only further cheapens the meaning of the term.

Afro-Americans? Sorry, but he really comes across very racist, especially since he categorizes everyone in the audience... "blacks, hyspanics (...)"

P. Almada, I don't think not being in on the latest racial terminology makes him a racist. Really, what is the difference between Afro-American and African American? Besides the first being 30 years dated, there seems to be none.

And, if you hadn't cut off your quote, it would've gone, "I'm deeply sorry to everyone I offended, blacks, hispanics, whites." That seems an acceptance that he realizes his remarks could've hurt just about everyone.

Anyway, I agree with most here that his words were words of anger in the moment, trying to lash out in the strongest way at someone who was damaging his act. Unfortunately it went the wrong way and the boundary between racism and know-your-place comedy was blurred. His apology does seem heartfelt, and I hope he is able to come to peace w/ himself as well whatever feelings he may have.

I'm shocked to see that after more than 20 comments, nobody has blamed Karl Rove or George Bush yet. That's gotta be a first!

I fully agree with Secamode... if the N-word is bad (and it is), then NOBODY should have license to use it either publicly or privately, regardless of their race or intent, including, or ESPECIALLY, African Americans. I say we ban it from history for all time.

I've heard some people say his apology is bullshit, but he does mention that he has no way to apologize to the people he actually made the comments to(at that moment at least). He seems like he wants make some ammends with them. It's amazing how fast you can fuck up your life by saying something stupid.

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"I would hesitate to wag the finger of racism at Richards too quickly; it only further cheapens the meaning of the term."

Un-believable. A guy mocks black audience members with lynching references, calls them niggers repeatedly, and yet he's not a racist until he makes his 'next move'. I fully accept that people can change, or that people can have a good side and a bad side. But no one I know would have used words like that, ever. Except racists.

Let's get one thing clear--almost no one in American public life in the past 100 years has admitted to being a racist. And yet indeed there have been a great many of them. Segregationists denied that they were racists, but obviously they were. 100 years ago Southerners were whing that the system favored blacks--'racial equality!' was their absurd rallying cry. A lot of people then and now demand that we take their word for it that they are not racists, and ignore all their actual words and deeds. We need to get it through our skulls that people do lie about race, now more than ever.

So a lot of white people don't want to apply the name racist to anyone and anything (except black people!)--they claim it cheapens instances of true racism (all those bad things in the past that don't ever happen anymore). Other whites, liberals like me imagine that there is a lot of racism out there, only most of it is subconscious or covert. Michael Richards and George Allen have proved me wrong--apparently a lot of American racism is overt, public, and right in the face of dark-skinned people. "Let me introduce you to real America, macaca"--"50 years ago we hung you people from trees"--if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and talks like duck it's a duck and Michael Richards is a racist who got caught the whirlwind of bad press. He's free to change his attitude and his language, but since I'm a grown up and I know a thing or two about human beings I'm not holidng my breath waiting for someone who acts like that to become the next great champion of racial equality and understanding.

Richards is one of the funniest TV actors ever in my view, which is why this is a real disappointment.

I can't say that I feel sorry for any one person involved in this. I feel sorry that the event happened in the first place.

In my own wonderment of trying to understand what caused Richards to do what he did, and to understand hatred in the world in general, particularly with race, I give you the following.

Jane Elliott, who performed the famous "Blue eyed/Brown eyed" experiment with a class of her students, once said on Oprah, that it was her hope that white people, for instance, could look at black people and not have the first thing they think be, "Oh, that person is black" She doesn't want skin color to be the first thing that is noticed. Even though she is an anti-racism activist, she considers herself a racist because in the back of her mind, that is what she is thinking.

I'm not saying that's the measuring stick of a racist, but you have to wonder, if that is something you notice, is that racism? I don't think so. If skin color is the first reason you hate on some one, then that is racism.

I don't consider myself a racist based on what Elliott says, but admittedly, I can't help but think, oh that person is black, or Asian, or Latino, or whatever. I don't hold that against the person, think any less of them, or dwell on that fact in any sort of fantastical way. It's just something that I notice because that is the most obvious difference. I don't care that they are a different race, just like I don't care if someone is male or female, blue or brown eyed, or fat or skinny. It doesn't change who they are on the inside, so why care about it in a way that you judge them upon it?

When black, Asian, or Latino people look at someone from another race, is the first thing that they notice the color of the other person's skin?

I don't know, but if that is true, then I would contend that people don't take notice to skin color if they have the same skin color because there is a certain type of identicalness with people who have the same skin color. Basically, you don't have to analyze areas where there would otherwise be differences. If they have the same skin color, you analyze other differences, like gender. What would be the point in analyzing their skin color if its the same? You analyze people to find differences and similarities. Subconsciously, you notice they have the same skin color, but you don't analyze it in the same way as with differences.

I think maybe it works like a pyramid. The top is the first thing you analyze in someone else, and the bottom are the last things. In no particular order you might first notice race, second is gender, third is height/weight, fourth is age, and so on until you get down to minute differences like teeth, hair, nose, eyes, whatever. You analyze the most visible differences first, then get down to the less visible until there is nothing left to analyze physically.

I think it's fair to say that everyone looks at a person and studies what the other looks like. When I look at girl for instance, I study what she looks like. I want to know if I find her attractive or not. Does that make me a male chauvinistic pig? I don't consider myself to be because I think personality counts as well. I treat all my friends including girls with the same respect that I want, but that's how I think, I can't help it.

I think it is innate in people to study what a person looks like, it's just an animalistic trait. You size up the other person, and try to find similarities. Some similarities carry more importance than others. If there are enough similarities, then you consider, how would this person benefit me? If they benefit you, then they could become your friend. It's like picking teams in dodgeball or something. The most important thing might be how hard and accurate they throw the ball. If that's the most important thing then you pick the person who has that ability first because you think it will benefit your team the most. Someone who has no coordination might not be your first pick because they have no benefit to the team.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, I'm not really sure that it explains anything, or if it even makes one bit of sense and its just making me look like an idiot, but it just something to consider. I'm not saying this is right because I have no research to back it up, its just an opinion. It is how I personally analyze people.

Maybe it does though. Maybe it explains discrimination of race, gender, age, handicapped, etc. Maybe people are discriminatory because they don't like all the differences and view those differences as harmful to themselves. Whether or not that's true, its no reason to hate on someone else. Hate on them because of what's on the inside, not the outside.

Some people are discriminatory simply because someone they closely associate with has the same beliefs, and they learn what differences to hate on. You don't think about why you should hate for those differences, you do it anyways. It's sort of like religion. When you're a baby, if your family is Catholic, then you are Catholic. How could a small child possibly comprehend all the reasonings of all the religion and choose which one to follow. You become Catholic, not because you chose to be, but because that is what your family believes. They decide for you, just like they make all decisions for you. You learn the beliefs of Christianity, and follow them, but maybe you aren't totally sure why you should follow them. If you're a Christian, the Bible says to kill anyone who is not Christian (anyone who is different, like with discrimination). The Bible, a long time ago, and still today, basically hates on anyone who is different. The Bible says to kill infidels (1st commandment, Deut 17:2-7, Lev 24:16), but what is the reasoning for that? There really isn't a good to kill infidels, but since the Bible says so, you don't think, you just do it anyways. Racism say to hate those who are of a different race, but what is the reasoning for that? There isn't a good reason, but maybe since everyone you know hates blacks, you don't think, you just do it anyways.

It might not be fair to compare religion and discrimination, but maybe religion is one of the reasons why so much hatred exists. Over in the Middle East, people hate on others because they have a different religion. It may be much more deeply rooted than that, but it doesn't make sense to me, just like discrimination doesn't make sense to me. The Bible forbids homosexuality, and orders Christians to kill homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13). The Bible forbids you to work on Sunday, and orders Christians to kill you is you do (Exodus 31:15) All these ideas are repulsive and don't make sense. Just like discrimination is repulsive and doesn't make sense.

In my own quandary, how can a person's physical appearance, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or work schedule possibly affect me in such a way that I have to hate them for it and/or kill them? I don't get it.

So as this has evolved from explaining how people analyze others, to why people hate, to how repulsive it is, to how other learn to belief certain thing, and finally somehow linking it to religion, I leave you to come to you own conclusions.

“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” - Coretta Scott King

Oh how true it is for Richards.

@bigAL

And as far as the reference to "a Bronx Tale"..lets be real, white men have ALWAYS lusted after our women the same way white women lust after black men.

Speaking of racism lurking just below the surface, thank you for 'being real' with the racial stereotypes. Just the kind of thing we need right now!

Ah yes, it appears BigAl buys into stereotypes as well.

Most things I would say about this have been said above. I think he was trying to make some kind of a point repeating the “unmentionable” word. I’m not sure what is was, maybe just to shock, but it wasn’t simply a racist rant.

I think his mistake is apologizing for a racist rant. He should explain the context; what he was trying to express.

My guess is his high dollar agent hired a high dollar publicist & they said an apology was the way to go. Even if he is seemingly admitting to being racist. He does state that he isn’t racist, but that’s a hard sell after the apology.

Hopefully he hasn’t blown all his Seinfeld millions. I suppose this will cut into future DVD sales. He’ll probably end up being sued by the Seinfeld show owners.

I think racism is inescapably in all of us…It’s normal to have an us & them view about everyone around you & not just different races. How you let it influence your thinking & actions is what matters.

This is a time of reverse discrimination in the US. It’s OK for blacks to mock & degrade whites on stage or in movies & TV, but the reverse is a mortal sin. I personally believe blacks are much more racist than whites & feel perfectly justified in being so. I once saw an openly racist black woman state that blacks can not be racists. Certainly they more freely express it.

"Our" women? What is "our" women?

Whenever I hear a statement with the word "always" in it, it is an immediate clue that the person doesn't know what they're talking about, just as when someone refers to other members of his own race in terms of ownership. It belies a "us against them" mentality and is no less bigoted than the comments he is criticizing.

Some people say it is okay for black people to use the word, because it is used as a friendly phrase, rather than a derogatory one.

I think more than the words, its the hate behind them that is the most disturbing.

As a minority myself, I have no qualms about the words themselves. I do, however, find prejudice mentality the most disturbing.

When I hear racism in full-flesh, it's not the words per se that disturb me so much as the message of hate that is clearly evident in these individuals.

I fully agree with Secamode... if the N-word is bad (and it is), then NOBODY should have license to use it either publicly or privately, regardless of their race or intent, including, or ESPECIALLY, African Americans. I say we ban it from history for all time.

I fully disagree. Censorship causes more problems than it tries to solve. By forbiding the use of racial pejoratives, do you honestly in your right mind think that racism in itself will cease simply because you ban certain words?!

Get Real!

We need to examine this problem and go to the root and cause of it, not dwell in superficial solutions. Getting rid of words like 'faggot' doesn't stop homophobia any more than banning 'nigger' will stop racism toward blacks. The fuel behind racism isn't words, its beliefs.

Education and tolerance among one another is key in beginning to solve this issue, not censorship. Please!

I think racism is inescapably in all of us…It’s normal to have an us & them view about everyone around you & not just different races. How you let it influence your thinking & actions is what matters.

What an astonishing proclamation! Speaking with some sort of authoritative decree as if by omniscience that everyone is racist is highly laughable and speaks volumes to your own deepseated racism and bigotry. You possibly hold racist beliefs that you yourself possibly find embeded well within your mind and project that onto others as if in purely biological terms we are born to hate.

No I don't agree with many of you. Words don't cause people to be racist, its beliefs that make them so. Get rid of all pejoritives and more will arise in the future. Get rid of the beliefs in hatred and exclusion and you solve a major social problem. If no one had beliefs of racial superiority how does one expect racism to exist? If we were able to overcome the belief in slavery, I don't see why there isn't a possibility to advance as a society and reject the ownership of such beliefs.

We can begin by being highly intolerant of institutions that feed of this form of exclusionary mentality and absolutist belief. A topic that has been repeticiously touched on and obviously one that hasn't been sinking in for many of you.

Why in the hell is this news? Yup, Richards crossed the line, but as soon as that guy called him a "cracker", well... 'nuff said. Shows that asshole is even lower in class. Two stupid a-holes, one a past-his-prime celeb, another some heckling asshole in a comedy club.

"I think racism is inescapably in all of us…It’s normal to have an us & them view about everyone around you & not just different races. How you let it influence your thinking & actions is what matters." - beowulfkg

I don't know you, but when you say this, it makes you sound like a racist because you are trying to justify racism by saying that it is in all of us. That isn't true.

I'm more disturbed by the people who were laughing during his apology - what was THAT?

I find this outrage pretty unbelievable. Richards was clearly going in character and being ironic. His mistake was giving up and walking off the stage.

Norm: I'm extremely disappointed that you would pawn this off without the slightest bit of context. It's really a shame.

One of the hecklers complained that Richards was yelling back at him because he was black. That's when Richards went into his mock character saying "shut up! 50 years ago ..."

In other words, "you don't know what racism is. this is what it is."

Hey Kevin, how was beowulfkg's comment different than your reference to Jane Elliot?

Thanks for the Bible refernces. What you may be forgetting about Catholic upbringing regarding Old Testament scripture is that Christ was sacrificed in our place. We are all guilty of violating God's laws and so none of us are in a position to judge another without judging ourselves. Rom 2: 1-3. Obviously, some Christians over the years have taken certain scriptures out of context just like you just did and used them to justify committing atrocities. I would argue that those people would, in the absence of religion, have found another excuse to commit atrocities like, for example killing babies in order to lower the orphan population.

Erick & Kevin R.,

My guess is you’re either very young or very stupid. You’re certainly naïve. Anyone who thinks they are so enlightened that their thinking is never clouded by prejudice is going through life wearing blinders….suffering self delusion. As a child & even a young adult I was under the same delusion. I learned introspection.

I’m not justifying racism; I’m just able to admit that it’s universal. If people are different than you then you think of them differently. When you learn to recognize that maybe you won’t unthinkingly act on it.

You seem to be conflating culture clashes with racist bigotry. I could certainly have culture clashes with many people on the basis of them being a complete 180 from my own personal worldly views--hell this even happens with members of my same ethnic background! But not once do I hold an outright hatred for members of a different group based on skin color or gender. If a person annoys me, I don't go off on a rant about how they deserve to be burned at the stake or picked by a pitchfork. This doesn't mean I wouldn't get angry and lash out, but racism would be the last thing on my mind when confronting an pestilence. Most of us probably hold some steriotypes to certain extents, but this differs greatly to outright hatred of another human being on the grounds of pure ethnic superiority.

No sir, I'm not naive or stupid...I'm just not an asshole.

You seem to be conflating culture clashes with racist bigotry.

You seem to think racism, bigotry & hatred are synonymous.

Racism: “making the race of other people a factor in attitudes or actions concerning them”

When I say racist or racism I don’t mean hatred or bigotry. I suppose the term has come to imply that. It also implies you feel your own race is superior. I don’t even mean that.

However all men are not created equal.

I’m a Euro mutt. I understand that Asians on average have higher IQs than Europeans. Does that make them superior? In that aspect I suppose it does. That colors my thinking of Asians. Does that mean I’m frothing at the mouth with hatred? I don’t see how it does. Asians are smarter than Europeans is certainly racist though.

Well then her lies the difference. I don't know where you picked up your definition but the one I was refereing to (the one I thought you were implying) was taken from dictionary.com which seems to be the common use of it:

–noun 1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Semantic misunderstanding on the part of both of us.

Mitch, thanks for pointing that out. Thats a very important point and unfortunetly its going to be very, very overlooked by the media.

"How does a person say something like "50 years ago we'd have you upside down with a fork in your ass", and NOT have racist demons within them?"

Perhaps the same way someone says 'eat me' and doesn't have cannibalism in them. Or says 'fuck you' but actually has no interest in doing so.

One does not have to be a racist to say something that is racist. One could be trying to make a point; one could be acting out a part; and one could just be pissed off and want to hurt someone, and leap to the most blindingly obvious difference with which to belittle them.

Nobody would have gotten as mad if it was a fat person, and Richards went to town on his weight. Or if it was an ugly person. Or a person with bad acne. But if it's race, gender, or sexuality you insult, here come the thought/speech police to tell you that it's wrong.

It's all hurt. That was the point. He wanted to hurt someone who hurt him. It was a private affair made public, and Richards has done all he can do. He didn't equivocate. He didn't offer justification. He just said he got angry and these words flew out of his mouth. And he apologized, profusely. That's all anyone CAN do. If you want to continue being mad at him or using him as a pawn in some argument you've long wanted to wax on about, that's your burden. Not his.

I'm just sick of people crucifying others for making idiots of themselves. We have the right to be idiots sometimes. The problem is that now it's all on tape and it becomes immortalized. Look at Howard Dean. Derailed by a simple (processed) yawp. Kramer gets mad at a black person and drops the N-bomb a few times. Big deal. People are people, flaws and all.

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