Wednesday, May 5, 2010
A Pedagogical Question: Am I Evil Because I Showed Paul Mooney and Dave Chappelle in My Class On Whiteness?
Random pedagogical question for you folks out there who are teachers, or have ever been college students...
In my seminars I like to use real examples to demonstrate such abstractions as "privilege" and the idea that race is a "social construct." Specifically, I like to use humor because nothing cuts so deep--especially for the White students in my class--as seeing a person of color reverse the gaze and deconstruct their follies. It really is Earth shattering for some that the little man behind the stove (to borrow from Ellison) knows more about them, than they often know about themselves.
I am also a bit of a jerk who pulls no punches in the classroom. I don't use the "n-word," I say nigger. I don't poo poo white guilt and hold a we are the world Oprah session confessional where people can talk about their "feelings." No, I talk about White supremacy and how there is a chain of evidence from the past to the present, clear winners and losers, beneficiaries, victims, and deniers. I am both loved and hated...at least according to my evaluations.
So my question: Am I so wrong to have shown Paul Mooney talking about the ways of White folk? Am I doubly wrong to have been smiling to myself as some of the White students, the more Conservative men in particular, looked on the verge of tears while their Black, Latino, and Asian students had a good laugh?
Second question, is there a better example of the true lie that is race than Chappelle's Clayton Bigsby sketch?
And yes, Eddie Murphy's "White People" routine from SNL is a close second: