Sunday, June 18, 2017

Why Steve Harvey's joke about Flint's water crisis might be racist

Most of us get pretty upset when a white comedian makes a racial joke. Bill Maher ended up apologizing recently after he referred to himself as a "house n-----" on his HBO comedy show.

But should black comedians get a pass for making racially insensitive jokes about African-Americans?

Steve Harvey, one of the most popular comedians on TV and radio, has gotten into trouble in the past for joking about Asian men, and lately he's tested the limits with his mostly black listening audience.

Last week, the comedian was disagreeing with a man who called in to his radio show, "The Steve Harvey Morning Show," about the Golden State Warriors' victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals. The man was from Flint, Mich., where problems with lead-contaminated water have had a devastating effect on African-Americans, particularly children.

"You from Flint?" Harvey asked the caller. "That why y'all ain't even got clean water. When was the last time you touched water and it didn't have lead in it?"

Before hanging up, Harvey added, "Enjoy your nice brown glass of water."

For many people, particularly African-Americans, the water crisis in Flint, Mich., is no laughing matter. Twitter attacks on Harvey have been fierce.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver sent a letter to the comedian asking for an apology. "To make a joke out of a tragedy such as this was in very poor taste, especially coming from someone of your stature," she wrote.

Apologies demanded from Steve Harvey after Flint comment
Weaver acknowledged that Harvey probably wasn't trying to intentionally insult the residents of Flint. And he has defended his joke as "simply trash talking about sports."

But the joke raises important questions. Was it also racist? Is it even possible for African-Americans to be racist?

Recently, I explored that question with a young author named Ibram X. Kendi, an assistant professor of African-American history at the University of Florida, who asserts that everyone, including African-Americans, can be racist.



Anonymous said...

Of course everyone can be racist. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. Even a president of the US can be racist as Obama proved numerous times.

Bird of Paradise said...

Jessie Jackson,Al Sharpton,Calypso Louie Barack Obama,BLM.NBPP all are racist

Anonymous said...

Denying that any race can be racist is by definition racism. Denying the open racism of a race is called Democrat.

Anonymous said...

BoP and Spurwing are racists.

Must be something in their birdbrains.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

non *:03 A Ameoba is more intelligent then you are' knothead

Anonymous said...


So you admit that as a sock-puppet to BoP that you are a racist?

After all, your posts clearly show a racist bias and your only "defense" is to call other people names.

By the way, we all continue to laugh at your lack or spelling and grammatical education.

Please get out of your mom's basement and take a course in English.

Anonymous said...

I don;t disagree that Steve Harvey can be racist - but what did he say that was racist?
Was it the colour of the water? I assumed that was simply because their water is contaminated - not that it had anything to do with the people drinking it...