This joke is objectively bad.
Fam, why is it bad?
First, don’t call me fam. Second, it’s lazy. I wouldn’t let a comic get away with this, because I even hold clowns to better standards. I get it. Subversion is hot, but you are politicians, so please keep it 100%. Don’t try and prove you’re down. You’re not. It’s okay.
B. But Lamar is here! Can’t we tell the joke? Lamar is here! He’s gotta be down with the joke, he’s a Black entertainer! He knows you gotta commit to the bit! And to the audience, surely the fact that we are in close in physical proximity and that he has a fun line in the bit MUST convey that we have consent from the Black Comedy Gods to tell this joke? That makes it okay. Right?
This joke reeks of “it’s okay because a black person is present.” I got a sense of humor, but if you are in charge of making choices about our goddamn lives and you wanna call yourself an ally to black folks, maybe you need to also have the good sense to know what kinda material is a little too goddamn, motherfuckin’ blue. If I had a nickel for every time someone thought they could make a black joke to another white person *because I was nearby* but listened to Coldplay sometimes, I’d have $17 shoved up said trespassers asshole(s).
C. But Bill is down, right?
Bill has a Black wife and children who are also Black. He should know better. Again this joke reeks of something he feels he has permission to do because of the proximity he has to our culture… the privilege that we Black folks have forged for OURSELVES to poke fun at OUR OWN culture and stereotypes. When I say “Haaaa, I’m running on CPT,” I’m really saying is:
Haaaa, I’m black and late at the same time in a world that already devalues me (LOL) and makes assumptions about my work ethic and punctuality because of my race (LMAO).
Sure! something that could help this would be for me to go OUT OF MY WAY to be the MOST ON TIME, and the MOST hard working, and THE MOST well-spoken Black person I can be in a never-ending attempt to subvert all negative stereotypes about all black people ever. And maybe in my dreams I could single-handedly destroy racism and crush institutionalized inequalities born from ANCIENT DEEP FUCKING WOUNDS in the flesh of this nation, by being perfect, magical, and black at the same time…
But that would mean I’d spend most of my life apologizing for the fucked up, racist perspective of every non-black motherfucker I met! And let’s face it, that sounds exhausting, and contrary to popular fiction, I am not a fucking non-playable character who exists merely to facilitate the plot developments in the life stories of my white peers. I’m a fucking person!
So you can miss me with your fucking coded racism, and fuckin’ MARVEL at me reclaim my own privilege to be exact same kind of petty, late, slacker-y, average, spoiled-by-his-baby-boomer-parents, fallible fuck that you get to be. Fuck any thoughts you have about be on purpose or by accident. I am black. And I am late. And I do not give a mother-fuck about your stereotypes or subverting them. I’m not sorry.
…And then after that I make a whole buttload of money… What was I talking about? Right! If you are white and you’re trying to crack a cute subversive joke about CPT, you sound like me trying to re-contextualize a bad joke made at the expense of someone who isn’t me, of someone that I might even have more privilege than.
Just imagine a man trying to make a “well I guess, I’m PMSing” joke? I’m not even gonna go there, because that joke is not funny, even if the person making it tries to recontexualize it. It’s not funny, because it’s not funny, because it’s not funny. PMS jokes do not affect the way people see me. I will not get turned down for a job because of misogynist assumptions fed by jokes made about my menstrual cycle.
It’s not my experience. It’s not my joke.
D. I do not want to drag Hillary, mostly because I feel the burden of responsibility and sensitivity should fall on the white man in a mixed race family, however I just have this sense that this joke got to fly, because she started to feel “comfortable” with black folk. In the same way that a white or non-black friend will feel “comfortable” enough with you to ask if they can use the n-word when it appears in rap songs is sorta how this situation feels.
Now it’s a small joke. She didn’t write it. She even straight-manned for De Blasio, so she didn’t have to use the words. But she got the eye-rolling punchline, and from my perspective, it just looks like she should know a lot better.
I think she might get dragged harder than she needs to be because she’s the one running for president, she’s the one who is supposed to be leading in the polls for Black folks, and I guess you can multiply all of this by the fact that she is a woman and a woman will get dragged harder and longer because society is fucked up. I think her feeling like she could afford to be close such a dumb joke was an oversight, but I don’t think it makes her as bad as many of the Hillary haters will have you believe.
Moral: Don’t do crappy bits with some dense white boy who thinks he can get away with a blue joke because his girl is black. Because, that boy probably gets dragged by her for the gaps in his politics on the reg.