An Al Jolson Riff

I rewatched Sunday's episode again, and I think that that blackface stunt pointed to something powerful (if unoriginal) about racism--how it reflects on its bearers. Roger looked ridiculous. In part this was because he is ridiculous, blackface aside. But it's also because blackface--seen in full color like that--looks ridiculous. I may be off on this, but I've just never thought blackface was funny--not just offensive, unfunny. I have no idea why people, decide to show up to parties in the stuff. And yet they do.

I think it's a waste of energy getting offended about this sort of thing--mostly because it says so much more about the person in black-face, than anyone else. It's like the Confederate flag, and "heritage not hate." Why get upset? These people are walking around with signs that say, "I'm ignorant of the basic facts of American history, and I'm proud of this." Why be angry at that? It's on them.

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In