Sticks and Stones


I’ve held my silence long enough; I really thought this whole Michael Richards being a racist on stage would blow over, as it should.  But it hasn’t, and I just saw yet another of his apologies aired on tv, and I’m over it.  For those of you who don’t know about this:  Richards, of Kramer in Seinfeld fame, was doing his act at a comedy club in Somewhere, U. S. A. (this is sad enough, back on the road after many years of cushy sitcom living) when some random hecklers began  . . . heckling him.  These hecklers were black.  Richards said some pretty nasty things in a pretty nasty tone of voice (pretty much at the top of his lungs–he was also on mike, so you can work out how that might sound), and some of these nasty things were racist (yep, the “N” word got bandied about, as did reference to lynchings in the “old days”) and some were not (just random non-race-based verbal abuse, you know the kind).  Well, as is always (it seems) the case, someone had a video camera or whatever and next thing you know the random (but black) hecklers are suing Richards for an undisclosed amount of money.

Sit back.  Let this digest. 

I wonder if the statute of limitations has run  out on this particular he hurt my feelings offense because if it hasn’t I’m suing Andrew Dice Clay because he wounded me as a woman during his entire fifteen minutes of fame back in the ’80’s.  Oh, and maybe Dennis Leary, too, he says some pretty nasty things about women, and I’ve even heard him use the “C” word. 

I’m over it.  Is the “N” word hurtful and nasty?  Yes.  Is Richards five kinds of a pig for yelling it and other abuses at these people?  Yes.  But did he commit a crime?  Should these people be paid because they felt bad?  You don’t see women wandering around demanding hand outs for the throughout history slavery, rape, “sacrifice” slayings, abuse, down troddenness, and general repression (and that’s throughout history, people, not a couple hundred years a couple hundred years ago).  Slavery was an abomination, and most of us know that and feel awful about it.  The only way to move past it (or anything horrid) is to . . . move past it.  Women want equal work for equal pay, in other words, women want to be paid the same amount of money as a man with the same education, skills, and experience.  This is not a handout, this is not affirmative action, this is not reparations; this is equality.  And isn’t that what we should all be seeking for ourselves and for each other? 

Richards has apologized, groveled, and generally debased himself on every talk show and news program going.  Some say he’s not sincere.  Some say that he is sincere.  Frankly, I don’t care if he dances around a burning cross wearing a white sheet at midnight.  So the heck what?  Last I heard this wasn’t illegal, either (unless the cross is on someone else’s property, and he places it there and sets it afire).  Plenty of people are racist pigs and plenty of people are verbally abused by them; why should these (black) hecklers get money because Richards has it?  Or because he was on a stage when it happened?  It’s ridiculous.  Now if he had beaten the hecklers or killed them OR advocated violence against the hecklers in the form of hate speech, trying to goad the audience into beating them up or killing them . . . well, that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.  That, I believe, would and should be a crime.



13 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones

  1. Poor Michael. How humiliated he must be having to continually grovel over such a lapse in judgement. And how right you are, he did not do anything except show his anger at some very rude and possibly drunk members of his audience. Now he will be crucified for how long? Some of the members of our human race seem bent on never moving on. Seem bent on making money off of anyone they can see an opportunity for. Maybe women have evolved farther along in the human experience, to be able to move past all the generations of abuse and slights and discriminations we have suffered. Maybe we have realized we don’t have time to hold a grudge. Maybe we have learned that time wasted on holding a grudge and running after ways to get even or to punish is just that, a waste of time that could be better spent in creating a better life or a better world for us and everyone else. Even those poor grudge holders.

  2. OMG the race card again here! How are we all going to ever get past the race issue if blacks don’t get past it themselves!

    Given the political and cultural climate in this day and age, what a stupid dumb ass thing to do! Even I, who is not the least bit bothered by using the word Nigger or shouting it from the roof tops, would not have done so in a public place with or while black people were present! Anyone sane, reasonable person could guess that there would be some sort of fall out. I don’t think Richards thought before opening his mouth. Or if he did, his thought process is flawed.

    Personally, I am sick to death of controversy over the black card. They want to be treated equal then freakin well should start acting as equals. Each time some black person gets caught up holding onto the past and letting the word nigger have more power over them then is sensible, they will keep getting treated differently. You can darn well guess that some white folk in a similar situation would laugh it off.

    In a comedy club, if someone dares heckle the comedian, they are going to get even worse then they give. Perhaps not the best choice of comebacks was used but so what. Really, aren’t there worse things happening in the world then this.

    I do have to note that even the audience was laughing to a certain point and then became amazed with the level of his retaliation. I suppose at that point he should have stopped to save some face. But please, they heckled and he heckled back.

    Oooh..someone has called me a nigger and now I am going to sue! The Brits here are racist against me here all the time. Suppose I can get some cash out of it! Did the hecklers go right away to a lawyer or only when they found out it was on You Tube and getting so much publicity. Would it not be more appropriate to sue the person who put it on You Tube, who effectively has shared these hecklers supposed humiliation with the whole world. Now that might be worth a bit…but sue for damages for a few minutes with of racist remarks in a comedy club. please…how much could that possibly be worth. More then one would think, because the hecklers are probably hoping the rich Richards will settle out of court and try to salvage his career. Who is the worse villian here…Richards or the hecklers. Which is worse, extortion or racism (If you call putting a heckler in his place racisim).

    Should Richards apologise publicly on TV. Heck no. He doesn’t owe the black community and apology. If one is due, it only needs to be to the hecklers, but then they should apologise for heckling him!

    The comment about hanging upside down in a tree was funny. Comedy makes fun of all kinds of religon, races and ways of life. Get over it already. Why and how on earth can words of the past mean a hoot in hell today, especially in a comedy club. Oh please the insanity!

  3. Well, I have some issues regarding his rant. But I belive suing him is going way overboard. I think his apology should be enough.
    I will say that I found Richard to be very rude and not very professional. Listening to what he had to say was very offensive. He is the professional and is in the public eye and should know better. But I also think that an apology and him not having another rant is enough.

  4. I’m with you, someone showed me the vid and yeah, he was drunk, and stupid, and made an ass out of himself. BUt can you imagine if a black comedian had started calling the audience white boy or honky, or whatever…i can’t see them suing. Racism isn’t nice. I don’t subscribe to it. But there is a line, and I think he’s getting more than his fair share of grief over this. He didn’t kill or injure anyone.

  5. Being from the left coast, I guess I hadn’t heard or cared about this latest “free speech” controversy. I do know enough about the business to wonder….do white groups heckle some of the African-American rappers and comics that trash them?

  6. I’m with you, Mavis, so much more fruitful and productive to work for a better world than to keep looking back at a traumatizing past, that way leads to greater racial divides to my mind–perhaps sexism would be even more rampant if women were acting the same way and making the same demands, maybe we wouldn’t have made whatever advances we have!

    And Amber, BBB/RLF/BFF, you just never let me down!! Love your comment here, and I especially appreciate your point about comedy being about these things as a rule. We laugh at things that make us uncomfortable or that we “get” such as stereotypes writ large (about women, Latino/a’s, blacks, Asians, whatever). I do think Richards took it too far, got too angry and too nasty, but I agree that it wasn’t the earth shattering national disaster that everyone is making it out to be.

    Oh, I couldn’t agree more, Bert, Richards was way out of line, and with the avalanche of apologies, you’d think it could be let go. Your point about it not happening again is a good one, too, though, that would be a really stupid move on his part.

    Yay! Hey Tally, good to see you commenting. I’m with you, Richards was a total ass, but that’s not violence or murder. What happened to “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? I mean we know that words do hurt, but we also know that we should rise above them. And you are spot on about the situation reversal, too, no white person would ever respond that way (well, they might now, that’s the trouble with this hysteria, now the door opens for “wounded” whites, Jewish people, women, whomever to sue for verbal abuse–it’s ridiculous. And embarrassing.).

    Okay, Gregg, you’ll have to explain this “left coast” thing you are always saying; I’ve no idea what that is!! Is it something you guys call yourselves out there? Like the Red Sox fans call themselves “Red Sox Nation”? It can’t be what I’d thought, some sort of aligning with CA and their liberal politicals (hence the “left”), because you say that you don’t hear about “free speech” controversies, and a lot of liberals have pounced on Richards as an example of all that is wrong with white males, the wealthy, and America in general. And the stock answer to your question is that white people haven’t suffered as black people have, we haven’t been enslaved (who knows what history books they’re reading), we haven’t been . . . all of it, and therefore, there is no comparable word to the “n” word that carries that baggage, etc. and etc. But as I said, I’m over all that now. I don’t use the “n” word because I do know that it wounds people, but I’ve had enough of this persecuted, poor me crap that ends up being about free money (how much can I sue for? how much can I get in reparations? how many universities can I get into by virtue of my skin color alone?) rather than true equality.

  7. Another media event I wish they would get over is Britney Spears and her pantilescapades. You would have thought it was Mother Theresa.

  8. yA BUNCH OF HONKY CRACKER WHITE WHINEY HEINEY CRY BABIES! YA CRYING POOR ME BROADS DAMES HOOTER HOLDERS! Now who wants to sue me. are your feelings hurt? too freakin bad, i said it. Now get over it and move on.
    the way I feel on this issue, is that if those guys had said what i just wrote, people would laugh, and they would continue to say it. Black comedians, and a lot of black people in general, mostly young people, say the N word to each other, and say those awful things. but as soon as a white person says it, it is wrong and they are in trouble. That is wrong. The media is going to carry this until some other hollywood catastrophy happens. mel gibson is passe now, and look what he said. If i were to give Micheal a suggestion, it would be to stop apologising, and make a new comedy routine about it. he may as well make money on this, the media sure is.

  9. Fuzzy girl, Left coast is just that, the left coast of the USA. You are on the Right coast. It has nothing to do with those California bleeding heart liberals that dominate this state. can you tell I am not one of those Bleeding heart liberals, Oh I wish i could underline here. lol

  10. Rolling my eyes over the Britney Spears going pantyless “news”; I agree, Pris, what in the world does anyone care if she wears panties or not? If the papparazzi didn’t have cameras thrust up her skirt, no one would even notice. Or care. But this, too, shall pass.

    roflmaowtrdmf — I may have just made that one up but this is what happened when I read what you wrote, Spartonmom: I began rolling on the floor laughing my ass off with tears rolling down my face!! Too funny!! You should team up with Richards and go on the road with him; you’d make a killing! And there’s nothing to that whole “left coast” thing? It’s just a direction, like west? Ugh. Okay, well, I get that, I just thought it was more complicated than that.

  11. Oh well said! How would they like it if he came and heckled them while they were working as Sienfeld showed in one episode? I hate the ‘N’ word and I call people on it when they say it around me. But,…suing for it when you started the verbal battle in the first place??

  12. My point, too, LO; I hate racism in all its forms, and the “N” word is really onerous, but sometimes I think that gets taken far too far and even USED to make money, as here. And that’s just wrong.

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