When this hit the headlines, I admit to finding the information eyebrow raising. But, I must be honest in saying that when it was all said and done, my ultimate reaction was "who cares?"
Stop the madness, please!!! Call me what you want for not finding this earth shattering but I really don't care that Richards went on his tirade and don't see why others, particularly prominent African American public figures and officials, think this is on the level of the Iraq War, or illegal immigration, or national health care, or any number of other far more important issues.
"Have you seen the tape?" you ask. Yes, I have. Watch it yourself at TMZ.com and tell me what you really see. I can tell you what I saw. Michael Richards-- who I wouldn't know unless told he was on Seinfeld because I didn't watch the show when it ran on NBC and still don't watch the show in syndication-- on stage using offensive language to express his anger over some customers who apparently decided to talk through his performance. You can hear one of the customers engaging Richards back then you see several people begin to walk out.
Somebody tell me why I should care.
If not for the home video-- complete with captions-- that popped up on TMZ.com, we wouldn't even know about this. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking whoever taped the tirade and got it to TMZ, but let's be real here. Richards is not an elected official. He's not a man of the cloth. He's not a high ranking Fortune 500 executive. Richards wields not one ounce of important influence on anybody's life. He's just a two-bit comedian who happened to reach fame through a television show that most African Americans don't watch. Yet, we have the likes of Rev. Jesse Jackson granting interviews calling Richards a racist who needs psychological help. Okay. Based on what we've all seen, tell us something we don't already know on the racist tip. As for Richards needing psychological help, that's debatable. There are a lot of well adjusted, successful and wealthy people in this country, who are as racist as they come and they don't need psychological help. And, they come in all colors and genders. Let's just be clear.
We have a guy who claims to be the person in the audience that Richards went off on apparently saying he might seek legal action because he's now had to explain to his four year old son why some white man was calling him the "N" word. Is that not ridiculous? How does the boy know the man was talking to his father? Was the boy sitting in the club, too? If so, that would be newsworthy. Hell, no! The boy only knows something is up because his father has decided to go public in hopes of hitting a jackpot in court. How do we know Richards was talking to you, brutha? Did somebody tape you shooting your retorts back at Richards during the show?
Or did Gloria Allred get to you and say, "I can make us both a lot of money if you just do as I tell you."
The only good thing that seems to be coming out of this is that Jesse Jackson is now publicly calling for something I've been telling friends for years. We (Black people) all need to stop using the "N" word in our personal conversations, in our music, in our movies and television shows. If you're going to be offended hearing the word come out of a white person's mouth, you better be equally offended to hear it come out of your mouth. ERADICATE THE WORD FROM YOUR VOCABULARY!
As for Michael Richards, consider these solutions:
- Stop talking about him. Stop making him a daily headline. His publicist is eating this up, probably telling him to milk this thing for everything he can. You know the saying, "bad publicity is better than no publicity." Don't feed the beast.
- Stop going to see him perform. When folks stop buying tickets to his shows, clubs will stop booking him. When Richards walks out on a stage to find an empty venue, and leaves without a pay check, he'll get the message.
- Stop watching "Seinfeld." Don't call television stations and ask them to take the show off the air. They won't do it. Just stop watching. Trust me. I work at a station which airs "Seinfeld" in syndication. We've received calls and emails asking that we remove the show from our lineup. But, it will stay right where it is until the ratings drop to a hash mark. Don't watch.
Of course, all of the above assume that you really care to begin with.
Oh, Good Evening!