The Times They Are etc.

A few years ago someone suggested that I watch the Key & Peele “Substitute Teacher” videos and enjoy a good laugh. I watched and I laughed. You can Google them if you want – Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The humor seemed harmless, even edgy, at the time, and reviewers wrote that Key & Peele were breaking down stereotypes and “exposing systemic racism.” Huh?

The premise of these videos is that a veteran teacher from an “inner city” (read: black) school is substituting at a white middle class school. The “humor” arises from the fact that the teacher (1) has developed a furious loud demeanor, presumably as a survival mechanism in “the inner city”; (2) is so used to “black” names like “D’Angelo” that he cannot pronounce names like Aaron or Denise; (3) thinks that a student who wants to go to a chess club meeting is referring to a downtown club, and; (4) assumes that he is in a battle with lying lawbreakers, again presumably based on his previous experience in a largely African American school.

What the hell? Why did I laugh? How did I not see how racist this is?

Boy have things changed since then. No one would get away with those videos now.

It reminds me of the recent scandal over yearbook photos of white students in blackface makeup. I guess they thought it was good clean fun at the time. It wasn’t. What do you think, nonexistent readers?

#Key & Peele #race #racism

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