Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Color of Racism

Has Kinky Friedman caught the Claytie Williams bug?

Williams, you may recall, had the governor’s race against the late (and former Governnor) Ann Richards in the bag, until he made an unfortunate comparison of Texas weather to rape, with the observation one might as well enjoy it, as there was nothing to be done to avoid it.
In so many words.

Kinky Friedman’s comments in the current gubernatorial campaign have been at the very least entertaining, sometimes thought-provoking, but have begun to devolve into the scary realm of truthful-but-offensive. Someone dug up a newspaper interview he’d done a year ago in which he prescribed punishment for sexual predators as including being “thrown in prison and being forced to listen to a Negro talking to himself.” He recently described transplanted Texans from storm-ravaged New Orleans as “crack heads and thugs.”

It’s hard to tell sometimes if Friedman is really running for governor, or just polishing new material for next year’s comedy cabaret tour. The thing about humor that resonates with everyone is that it is based upon some truth at the core.

Racism is that unmentionable quality none of us wants to admit still exists in some dark corner of our psyche. But it’s there…and for a stark illustration of how subtly insidious racism is, go rent a copy of “Crash” this weekend and count the myriad examples, both overt and covert.

So when Kinky Friedman caught heat for his take on racist politicking...
"I don't eat tamales in the barrio, I don't eat fried chicken in the ghetto, I don't eat bagels with the Jews for breakfast…that to me is true racism..."
...he may have struck a nerve in all of us.
Or mashed a toe or two.

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