i AM WITH CORY MICHAELIS, MY INSTRUCTOR AT TACOMA COMEDY ACADEMY, WASHINGTON STATE – AUG 2018
Part 2: HOW I MIGHT HAVE NAIVELY (NOT DELIBERATELY) OFFENDED THE BLACK MEMBERS IN THE AUDIENCE…MY PROFOUND REGRETS!…
Class of 2018 Tacoma Comedy Academy Graduation Night…something I said could be considered INSENSITIVITY to the blacks in the audience OR A SOCIAL BLUNDER (FAUX PAS) ON MY PART…why did I come to this conclusion about my public performance! In semi-darkness, I was passing out my ‘business cards’ to some members of the audience (a full house) some time after my performance…and I realized 98% of the black ladies at the show rejected and refused my cards, in fact a few pushed me or my cards away! It dawned on me that I had said something on stage that could be considerED INSENSITIVITY TO THE BLACK MEMBERS OF THE AUDIENCE…let me share my personal story!
Essentially my theme was: Who am I? I am a Chinese, a Chinese American, naturalized citizen of USA. I will not repeat my whole script for the show, but I will share some of the things I said on stage. That President Trump has expressed that if he or his men find that some of us had LIED OR CHEATED ABOUT OUR ‘CRIMINAL PAST’ WHEN APPLYING FOR CITIZENSHIP… HE WOULD NOT HESITATE to deport us NOW…And I had said on the stage that I do not feel safe anywhere in the United States even though I am a naturalized citizen, even here at the comedy Club…that A CHINESE IS A CHINESE IS A CHINESE…UNSAFE AT ANY PLACE.
i am reminded of what Michael Bennett, a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change maker, said at the conclusion of his new book THINGS THAT MAKE WHITE PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE: “I’ll be a football player for just a few more years but I’ll be black forever. When I’m driving with my family down the street in a nice car in a nice neighborhood and the police see us, they don’t see Michael Bennett the college graduate, the husband or the loving father. … They immediately see a black man who could possibly be dangerous.”
Then I said on stage: Let me translate this in simple English for you: a nigger is a nigger is a nigger! Why? In movies about the blacks in USA, I had heard and seen blacks using this N word generously calling themselves or each other. But somehow a non-black is not allowed to use it! I had read also many professional basketball players and football players said this time and time again, that while they played on courts or fields, they were admired, adored, applauded or cherished but the moment they were out of their uniforms and out in the streets in America, they were nothing but niggers! The same feeling Michael Bennet wrote at the conclusion of his book!
Am I being insensitive? One minority to another minority? Theresa Lee Hodson, my best black female friend for over 20 years, taught me how to make Afro-American clothes before I left to spend 7 years as a visiting professor in China…she taught me to buy the right cloth, and made them because I was not willing to pay for ready made clothes out there…She is one of my best black friends in USA today…I wore them when I was a visiting professor in China…Theresa helped me make at least 4 of them for me to wear because I love the colors and I always feel comfortable wearing them…and you accused me of being racist??? How ridiculous is that?
Anyway, the elegantly dressed female blacks in the audience were obviously offended, thus pushing me away when I tried to give them my business cards, that is after I had introduced my book THIS IS CHINA on stage, at the end of my performance. Sorry if I have offended you…!
Anyway, it is harder to be a stage comedian than pursuing college teaching! But taking the comedy classes taught me how to write and present a joke on stage! My friend Debbie Davis and I hope to go to Open Mike Night so I can continue to improve and hone my joke writing and telling skills! Right now I will go out to talk about China with my book THIS IS CHINA…at the moment I have introduced myself to all the Rotary Clubs in Pierce County where I now live, and to many Rotary Clubs in the neighboring counties. I was lucky as an international student once, to be invited to give speeches at Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs. I am concerned that many Americans are not interested in what is transpiring inside a new Economic Dragon (China) in the world! I want to share with them my experiences as a visiting professor in China for 7 years.