I laughed when comedian Katt Williams began flipping out and insulting a Mexican (or Mexican-American) heckler for over 7 straight minutes on video this past weekend in Phoenix, Arizona.
Some of the stuff was funny.
Some of it—like Mr. Williams said “we were slaves, b*tch. Ya’ll just work like that at the landscapers”—was objectionable.
Initially, and after only reading about the episode, I’d been worried that Katt might have finally flipped his lid. It happens to all the great comedians—if they don’t die first, like Robin Harris did.
- Richard Pryor set himself on fire
- Eddie Murphy got caught in a questionable pre-sexual situation
- Martin Lawrence got into an argument with traffic (notice that I didn’t write that he got into an argument ‘in’ traffic)
- Dave Chappelle’s success sent him fleeing to Africa
But Katt’s routine was just defensive, the result of being heckled, I think.
It was still dangerously close to a Michael Richards N-Word scenario and, although I usually loathe celebrity apologies as disingenuous, one might be in order here if only because Mexicans and Mexican-Americans buy as many movie and concert tickets as Republicans buy sneakers.
Still, the two things that stuck out as troubling were that Mr. Williams seemed to have a trough full of this kind of material in reserve, and his attack on the poor Mexican gentleman was decidedly pro-American.
Now, I’m not the biggest patriot. I root for Ghana in the World Cup. And I regard any red, white, and blue Black person with suspicion.
I also find it odd whenever a people that were brought to this land in chains mock and hate on the people whose land it originally was.
But Mr. Williams is not alone in this.
One of my closest friends, college educated and all, hates everybody from Mexico and the countries further south. His reasoning is that those immigrants are taking American, specifically Black American jobs.
Now, of course this friend has never been fired because a Mexican has been hired to replace him, but what’s he arguing is that the jobs that Mexicans and other immigrants from further south are taking could just as well go to Black people.
“Ok”, I say, “or Black people could get other jobs. It’s not like the want ads in the newspaper are full of blank pages.”
Besides, if we’re to agree right here, right now, that there is, in fact, a ‘Black Agenda’, then it must be independent of considerations for any other people.
We’re supposed to be watching the throne, not the border.