Wayne Brady, Bill Maher Black Man, Black Man Jokes?
(ThyBlackMan.com) Depending on whom you ask, Wayne Brady should or should not have taken exception to being used as fodder for the “non-threatening Black man” joke. Also depending on whom you ask, the oft-used joke by Bill Maher should be considered less of an insult and more a compliment, in that Wayne Brady is not emblematic of the negative depictions of African-American men.
But in the end, the only real opinion that matters in the discussion of Bill Maher V. Wayne Brady is Brady’s…which he made abundantly clear; indicating he’d “gladly slap the sh!t out of Bill.”
As of this moment, there has been no public response from Maher, which is surprising to some degree given his consistent activity on Twitter and willingness to verbally beat down those who publicly engage him. And even if Bill Maher does eventually respond, expect it from the safety of his television show, complete with his sympathetic and sycophantic audience. Look for it in the form of snide commentary in the “New Rules” section, assailing Wayne Brady’s supposed oversensitivity (i.e. “you can’t take a joke”).
There is a real discussion to be had as to whether it is “funny” for Bill Maher the community outsider to consistently weigh in with opinions on who is a “real” Black man or just really non-threatening. Although the issues of race may be within the purview of comics, it doesn’t mean that we as the audience relinquish our right to find certain humor distasteful.
Bill Maher’s track record of mean-spirited humor can’t be argued or denied. All personal political allegiances aside, we should be in agreement on that Maybe Bill Maher felt comfortable quipping about Wayne Brady because he also had a long history of wagging his finger at Republicans for racism. Possibly Maher felt comfortable poking Wayne Brady because Bill Maher has been so public in his support of President Obama. According to Brady, Bill Maher’s comfort level is inextricably linked to his penchant for pillow talk with Black “girlfriends.”
The most interesting part of Wayne Brady’s very public rant was that it gave considerable insight into the psyche of many Black men. For many of us, we understood exactly the nature of Brady’s remarks, in a way Bill Maher never could and never will. For many of us, there was a head-nod of agreement and understanding as to how and why Brady “went there” and in such graphic detail. There is a socialization, a standard operating procedure if you will, relative to our interaction.
First and foremost, you should never call out one’s manhood. Amongst Black men it is both implicitly and explicitly understood. Meaning, if a man can’t seem to “get it” implicitly, then it will be explained to you explicitly…in probably a very uncomfortable manner.
Wayne Brady’s remarks were telling in many ways. Not only for their content, but also for the underlying subtext in the manner delivered. Wayne Brady made it very clear he is, and will always be a Black man, and abundantly clear on our rules of interaction.
In short, Wayne Brady reminded Maher that “our rules” state that there are some things you can only say on a non-Black television network to a non-Black panel, with a 99% non-Black studio audience playing along.
Bill Maher may have “New Rules” on his television program, but in relation to Black men, our old ones are still in effect.
Staff Writer; Morris O’Kelly
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