How Obama and Larry Wilmore Taught America About Racism
In case you missed it, and really why wouldn’t you have, last weekend was the final White House correspondents’ dinner of Obama’s presidency. To celebrate the event, top-ranked white noise television channel C-Span broadcast the dinner live. Much to literally everyone’s surprise the dinner accidentally turned into something both entertaining and illuminating.
For his part, Mr. Obama eschewed the event’s traditional shitty dad jokes meant to elicit pandering, strained laughter from a half-drunk, self-absorbed audience and instead took the opportunity to put on a public speaking clinic— balancing a sincere look back at his time in office with genuinely funny quips and a perfectly executed mic drop, all while looking more comfortable than D. Trump in a white hood amid a field of burning crosses. Like, real comfortable basically.
His speech, more than anything, goes to show that it’s possible to “tell it like it is” without sacrificing nuanced thought or substantive ideas. Or to put it in terms more befitting this year’s election cycle, that one can, as they say, “keep it real” without becoming a walking shit sprinkler.
And that wasn’t even the highlight of the night. That came when comedian Larry Wilmore took the stage and spent 20 minutes perfectly illustrating the profound depth of delusion that our media and political enterprises exist in.
Wilmore’s jokes were really just basic facts garnished with pithy punchlines. What makes them noteworthy is the reaction they elicited from a room of network executives, political pundits and other folks generally unaccustomed to having reality forced upon them.
If you accidentally tuned in midway through, which if you tuned in at all it was probably on accident, you might have thought Wilmore was standing at a podium reciting Game of Thrones spoilers. The audience reacted with a mixed bag of silent squirms, those weird twisted looks that old, out of touch white people get the very first time they realize that they’re old, out of touch white people and some boos from the more articulate of the bunch.
In the end, the annual schmooze-fest accidentally highlighted the extent that racism is built into America’s everyday operation. Because while Obama cemented his place in U.S. History as one of the most gifted, eloquent speakers to ever serve as president, and Wilmore smartly satirized the character, and characters, of our political system, the headlines the next day were all the same: Black Guy Calls President His ‘Nigga’.
If that doesn’t have your racism radar chirping it’s time to get that shit checked. Cause it’s broke as fuck.