Fighting Racism With Laughter
Like any issue, we can get so immersed in the depth of our fight for racial justice or any other issue, we have trouble letting in the light. Or even the lighter.
The second we see something on the news or witness what appears to be an unjust moment, we’re ready to use our voice. To stomp it out.
We stand guard. Antennas up. Racism radar on full alert.
This hit me hard a few months ago when I got an invite to an “All Black Party.”
An organization that helps prepare the next generation of young Black leaders was hosting an event. I am on the executive board of the organization and typically attend all their programs.
But the ad for this one was different. It was advertised as an “All Black” event.
I get it. People of any ethnic group enjoy comradery with each other. Their shared culture, mannerisms, laughter, food, and the like are comfortable, safe spaces. I’ve never been offended by any group who wants to gather among themselves in love.
I still wanted to attend, so I texted the CEO who is a dear friend.
“Hey, is it okay if I attend the All Black Party?”
He seemed surprised by my question. “Of course, why wouldn’t you?”
It was summer, and I love fashion, so I showed up wearing a cool all-white shorts-hoodie combo by the designer Celine.
Much to my chagrin, everyone else was wearing all black.
It turns out, it was an “all-black” party as in all-black attire. Many Black organizations have for years thrown all-white or all-black attire parties. I had been to many in the past.
I was so immersed in my world of racial justice that my brain stopped functioning for a moment. I really thought this all-black party was just for Black people. The only good thing was there were a lot of laughs at my expense. It ranks up there with one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done in my entire adult life.
This wasn’t much different than when I was in line at my favorite coffee shop last spring, and I was asking which single-origin coffee was being served that day.