Discussion Forum For this week’s online assignment in 300 words or more: Explore your reactions to one of the readings based on your critical thinking and

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For this week’s online assignment in 300 words or more: Explore your reactions to one of the readings based on your critical thinking and experiences. Were there key claims/arguments/ideas that confused you, resonated with you, or made you wonder? If so, state these key claims. If you are responding to the poem, be very clear and explicit as to what the poem is about and what it is doing? Then, respond to at least one classmate’s post in 200 words or more by 5 pm on Tuesday. 

Post by 5pm Tuesday, Mar 1st. If you post your reading reflection after the deadline it will make it difficult for your colleagues to read and comment before our Wednesday class and your post will be substantially marked down. You will need to complete this discussion post requirement to receive your Monday attendance points.

Important Note: Please be mindful always of your engagement with everyone in our class. Consider the social significance of identities (class, gender, race, etc.) and the ways in which such differences may be affecting the ways in which you (and others) are participating. 

Answer:

I read “Stand Up” by Cathy Park Hong, and I really want to focus on the part where she talks about the anti blackness, colorism and homophobia within the Asian Community and how being queer or dark skinned will make you looked down upon in the Asian community. When Hong talks about how the Asian community have been inflicting the same type of hate and racism towards black or brown people, or even people of their own kind with darker skin, it reminded me of the Colorism that we have within my own ethnicity (the Filipino Community).This is an issue I have personally experienced within my own family and it comes to show that the standards that the Asian Community have placed among themselves has been set so high, that it is sometimes quite infuriating. They are willing to bring down their own kind if they do not fit that standard. I am a Filipino and I know a lot of women back in the Philippines take iv glutathione for skin whitening because the beauty standard over there is to have really pale skin. Some people are just naturally pale but a lot of Filipinos have brown skin, and a lot of them are seen as poor or not beautiful for having darker skin. That beauty standard has also been harmful towards so many people all over the world by belittling so many of their OWN people just because of the color of their skin. Colorism has affected the Philippines in so many ways and it all started when Spain colonized the Philippines, viewing white Europeans as “greater’, and all of that still affects Filipino communities in the Philippines, and even in the US, today. This concept has made many people to feel ashamed of their natural brown color, and purchase products that will whiten their complexion. 

STAND UP

SNOW FELL, SHAGGING THE TREES white and draping the streets with soft
noiseless drifts until the whole city seemed erased. The industrial heater in our
loft roared like a jet engine so that my husband and I could barely hear each
other. During that year when I was depressed, I barely talked anyway. I spent
most of my days crumpled in bed or on the couch. I was a blip on a cardiogram. I
barely slept, barely ate, let alone wrote. Takeout collected in the fridge, molding
into pastures of black sea urchins. Sometimes I checked email. I clicked onto
Paperless Post. The envelope opened itself; the card presented itself; I closed my
laptop.

My husband suggested we watch Richard Pryor’s Live in Concert, which I’d
never seen before. Since we didn’t have a TV, he projected the movie against the
blank wall facing our couch. Pryor appeared in our home, seven feet tall, larger
than life, lancing our darkened room with light. Over the course of his eighty-
minute act, sweat blooms under his armpits and drenches his red silk shirt as he
impersonates a man having a heart attack or his tiny pet monkey scrambling over
his head to fuck his ear. I only sweat when I’m nervous, and when I’m nervous no
antiperspirant will protect me, so I avoid wearing light colors when I have to
teach or perform in some way. But Pryor dares to wear silk, which is so
unbreathable it exposes his sweat like ink on blotting paper.

But before his antic performances, Pryor strides onstage. He watches all the
white people settle into their seats like he’s watching zoo animals. He says, “This
is the fun part when white people come back and find out that black people stole
their seats.” In a nasally “white” voice, he asks, “Weren’t we sitting here? We
were sitting right here!” Switching to a “black” voice, he answers: “Well, you ain’t
sitting here now, motherfucker.”

In his book Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, Sigmund Freud divides
jokes into two categories: non-tendentious and tendentious. The non-tendentious
joke is benign and innocuous, like riddles told to children. The tendentious joke
is aggressive or obscene or both, rooting out what we repress in our subconscious.
When African American entertainers in the forties told tall tales for laughs
backstage, they called these backstage jokes lies. Lies were tendentious, told on
street corners, in pool halls and barbershops, away from the prim company of
whites. Pryor told lies—by spinning stories, ranting, boasting, and impersonating
everything from a bowling pin to an orgasming hillbilly. And by telling lies, Pryor
was more honest about race than most poems and novels I was reading at the
time.

Pryor blowtorched the beige from my eyes. I didn’t know he was not just a
comedian but also an artist and a revolutionary. He got rid of the punchline to
prove that stand-up could be anything, which is what geniuses do: they blow up
mothballed conventions in their chosen genre and show you how a song, or a
poem, or a sculpture, can take any form.

After my depression eventually lifted, I became obsessed with transcribing
all of Pryor’s audio and filmed performances. I realized that Pryor on the page is
not exactly funny. Without the hilarity of his delivery, Pryor’s words hit hard and
blunt, as if the solvent of his humor has evaporated and left only the salt of his
anger. Part of that effect is due to his constant use of expletives, such as his
notorious use of the n-word, which punctuates every sentence. On the page, his
monologues are stark, sobering; a scathing confessional that innocence, for
instance, is a privilege black people don’t get to experience: “I was a kid until I
was eight. Then I became a Negro.”

As critics noted, Pryor’s brilliance lies not only in his clever phrasing but in
how he embodies his monologues. He is an ensemble of one, incandescent in his
talent for channeling anyone and tapping into the wild range of human emotions.
I am most mesmerized by his face. If Pryor’s words wound, his face reveals his
woundedness. Pryor tells a story about how his sex-crazed monkeys died and he is
grieving in his backyard, when the neighbor’s German shepherd jumps over the
fence to console him. Mind you, Pryor is impersonating a dog, but Pryor conjures
all the pain of humanity through his inconsolable eyes.

Like most writers and artists, Richard Pryor began his career trying to be
someone else. He wanted to be Bill Cosby and went on shows like Ed Sullivan,
telling clean, wholesome jokes that appealed to a white audience. He felt like a
fraud. Pryor was invited to Vegas to perform at the famous Aladdin Hotel. He
came onstage and there, in the spotlight, gazing out into a packed audience of
white celebrities like Dean Martin, he had an epiphany: his “mama,” who was his
grandmother, wouldn’t be welcome in this room. Pryor was raised by his paternal
grandmother, Marie Carter, the formidable madam of three brothels in his
hometown of Peoria, Illinois. His mother, Gertrude Thomas, was a sex worker in
his grandmother’s brothel before she left Pryor in his grandmother’s care. In his
stand-up, Pryor speaks frankly about his lonely childhood in the brothel: “I
remember tricks would go through our neighborhood and that’s how I met white
people. They’d come and say, ‘Hello, is your mother home? I’d like a blowjob.’�”

His biographers David and Joe Henry write that that night in Vegas would
forever mark “the B.C.–A.D. divide” in Pryor’s life, when Pryor killed the Cosby in
his act and began to find his own way in comedy. Pryor faced his audience in
Vegas and leaned into the mike and said, “What the fuck am I doing here?” He
walked offstage.

Watching Pryor, I had a similar revelation: What the fuck am I doing here? Who
am I writing for?

Poets treat the question of audience at best ambivalently but more often with
scorn. Robert Graves said, “Never use the word ‘audience.’ The very idea of a
public, unless a poet is writing for money, seems wrong to me.” Or poets treat the
question of audience speculatively, musing that they are writing to an audience in
the future. It is a noble answer, one I have given myself to insinuate that I am
trying to write beyond contemporary trends and biases. We praise the slowness of
poetry, the way it can gradually soak in to our minds as opposed to today’s
numbing onslaught of information.

We say we don’t care about audience, but it is a lie. Poets can be obsessed

with status and are some of the most ingratiating people I know. It may baffle
outsiders why poets would be so ingratiating, since there is no audience to
ingratiate us to. That is because the poet’s audience is the institution. We rely on
the higher jurisdiction of academia, prize jury panels, and fellowships to gain
social capital. A poet’s precious avenue for mainstream success is through an
award system dependent on the painstaking compromise of a jury panel, which
can often guarantee that the anointed book will be free of aesthetic or political
risk.

Watching Pryor, I realized that I was still writing to that institution. It’s a
hard habit to kick. I’ve been raised and educated to please white people and this
desire to please has become ingrained into my consciousness. Even to declare that
I’m writing for myself would still mean I’m writing to a part of me that wants to
please white people.

I didn’t know how to escape it.

When I was fifteen, writing a poem was as mysterious to me as writing in
Cyrillic, so I was ready to be impressed by my classmates’ poetry when I flipped
through my high school literary journal. But I was disappointed to find that, as is
typical for most adolescent poems, there was no there there in their pretentious
musings. Their amateurish efforts emboldened me to write one myself. That
doesn’t look so hard, I thought. I bet I can do that. And then I wrote one. I felt
giddy, like I’d discovered a new magic trick.

At the time, my family lived in a new development in L.A., so we were
surrounded by half-constructed homes. Herds of deer still roamed the scrubby
flattened hilltops of the neighborhood, grazing on thistles and sagebrush. One
night when the moon was full, I saw a stag with little antler thumbs poking out of
its head bend its hind legs and shit in our backyard before leaping away. I thought
my house was haunted. I woke up a few times at night with my bedstead rattling.
Another time, I was startled awake by an invisible phantom trying to lift my body
off my mattress. I gripped my sheets so I wouldn’t float away.

I was deeply lonely and never felt quite present then. I only came into focus
when I was making art and later when I began writing poetry, which I found
freeing because my body was dematerialized, my identity shed, and I could
imagine myself into other lives. Everything I read affirmed this freedom. John

Keats said a poet “has no identity—he is continually in for, and filling, some
other body.” Roland Barthes said, “Literature is that neuter, that composite, that
oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost,
beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.”

But when I became a published poet, I couldn’t suspend my Asian female
identity no matter what I wrote. Even in the absence of my body, my spectral
authorial identity hampered the magnitude and range in which my voice reached
readers. How naïve to think that my invisibility meant I could play God! If
Whitman’s I contained multitudes, my I contained 5.6 percent of this country.
Readers, teachers, and editors told me in so many words that I should write
whatever felt true to my heart but that since I was Asian, I might as well stick to
the subject of Asians, even though no one cared about Asians, but what choice
did I have since if I wrote about, say, nature, no one would care because I was an
Asian person writing about nature?

I suspected that if a reader read my poem and then saw my name, the fuse of
the poem would blow out, leading the reader to think, I thought I liked the poem
but on second thought, I can’t relate to it. But what proof did I have of this? How
did I know it wasn’t simply because I had no talent? The problem was that I didn’t
know. Either way, I couldn’t shake off this stuckness. I always thought my
physical identity was the problem, but writing made me realize that even without
myself present, I still couldn’t rise above myself, which pitched me into a kind of
despair.

I started watching more and more stand-up. There was a transparency to comedy
that I wasn’t finding in poetry. Comedians can’t pretend they don’t have identities.
They’re up there, onstage, with their bodies against a brick wall like they’re facing
a firing squad. There’s nowhere to hide, so they have no choice but to
acknowledge their identities (“So you might have noticed I’m black”) before they
move on or drill down.

It’s also harder to bullshit one’s way through comedy, because the audience
cannot be convinced into laughter. Real laughter is an involuntary contraction that
bursts out of you like an orgasm. You laugh from surprise but you’re only
surprised once, which is why comedy ruthlessly lives in the present. Nothing gets
dated faster than a joke.

Comedians not only need an audience, they are desperate for an audience.
Even when they were bad at it, I was fascinated by how comedians reeled their
audience in to their act, drawing on the audience’s responses and discomfort for
material. In the beginning of Live in Concert, Pryor not only confronts the racial
makeup of his audience but turns his white audience members into a spectacle,
making them self-conscious for even returning to their seats: “Jesus Christ! Look
at the white people rushing back!”

The literary scene has since diversified, but when I was younger, whether the
reading was held at a bar, bookstore, or university, I read mostly to a white
audience. The white room was such the norm that often I barely even noticed it.
But when I did, I began to feel the whiteness in the room. If a neutral background
color, say white, turned traffic-cone orange everywhere you went, you’d become
chronically stressed and your mind would curdle like a slug in salt. That’s how I
felt. Only I had to pretend that I wasn’t seeing traffic-cone orange everywhere.

Poetry readings served no function except to remind me I was dangerously
losing faith in poetry. Maybe once, readings were a vital form of commons, but
now readings felt terribly vestigial with all their canned ecclesiastical rituals: the
scripted banter, the breathy “poet’s voice,” the mechanical titters, the lone mmm
of approval. While I sagely nodded along to a poet praising the healing powers of
poetry, inside I was going into diabetic shock from their saccharine sentiments.
The worst was that I was lying to myself. I was that poet who dismissed the
thought of audience because it would corrupt my artistic integrity. But at
readings, there was no denying it. I was performing for a roomful of bored white
people and I desperately wanted their approval.

I never directly addressed my audience except to thank them and reassure them I
only had two poems left to read, an embarrassed gesture most poets make to
concede that they know their reading is a tedious burden. It never occurred to me
to directly address the whiteness of the audience the way a stand-up comedian
would. It never occurred to me to belt out a question like “Any Latinos in the
crowd?” and allow the silence to linger a beat too long before I belted out, “Any
black people in the crowd?”

I always pretended like I wasn’t the only Asian woman in the room, which,
for me at least, freighted the air with tension as if my body were the setup to a
joke that never became defused by a punchline. But why not defuse it? If there
was this expectation that I should write about my Asian identity, why not say out
loud that I was the only Asian in the room?

I began to do stand-up instead of reciting my poems at readings. I just
couldn’t bear to do another poetry reading, since the humiliation of it stayed in
my skin for a few days like radioactive material. I thought by doing stand-up I
could at least humiliate myself deliberately, which seemed less toxic somehow.
At first, I recited jokes by other comedians, which violates a cardinal rule in
comedy, but I convinced myself I was pulling a conceptual stunt rather than
actually doing stand-up. But then I began to slip in my own jokes, until I used
only my own jokes, material for which I drew from my personal life. I was never
an autobiographical poet. The fact that I now wrote about my life as jokes
probably exposes my deep-seated masochism. If people didn’t find my jokes
funny, I wanted to bomb spectacularly while telling jokes about my life. I wanted
to fall on my face doing it.

I never felt comfortable writing about personal racial trauma, because I wasn’t
satisfied with the conventional forms in which racial trauma is framed. The
confessional lyric didn’t seem right because my pain felt singled out, exceptional,
operatic, when my life is more banal than that. I also couldn’t write traditional
realist narrative fiction because I didn’t care to injection-mold my thoughts into
an anthropological experience where the reader, after reading my novel, would
think, The life of Koreans is so heartbreaking!

But after watching Pryor—and transcribing all of his visual and audio stand-
up—I thought I could find a way into writing frankly about being Asian. My
stand-up routine at readings, however, was short-lived. When I first performed,
everyone laughed uproariously, which thrilled me, but normally people were
confused. The event coordinators were baffled by my subterfuge and the
audience didn’t know what to do but laugh uncertainly or look at me as if I had
wet my pants. In Williamsburg, there was a bar called Kokie’s that actually sold
cocaine by the jukebox for twenty dollars. I went there with friends in my
twenties a few times. I bought a bag and sniffed it using my house key ridged
with inscrutable grot in a curtained-off area with other random customers. One

night, two big Dominican guys stared at me, astonished, until one of them said, “I
never saw an Asian girl do blow before.”

I made a joke about that story. Another time, a Southern white journalist
asked me what the real difference was between Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese
people. I made a joke about my response to her question. My jokes were terrible
and my delivery was awkward at best. I was experimenting, searching for a
structure that pierced through the respectability politics that fogged the literary
community at the time. Writers of color had to behave better in their poetry and
in person; they had to always act gracious and grateful so that white people would
be comfortable enough to sympathize with their racialized experiences. I never
forgot hearing one award-winning poet of color say during a Q&A, “If you want
to write about race, you have to do it politely, because then, people will listen.”

Literature supposedly bridges cultural divides, an axiom that rang false once I
understood the inequities of the publishing industry. Publishers treated the ethnic
story as the “single story,” which Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie defines as follows:
“Create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and
over again, and that is what they become.” As the writer Matthew Salesses
elaborated in a 2015 essay in Lit Hub, the industry instituted the single story in
two ways: (1) the publisher had a quota that allowed them to publish only one
Chinese American writer, and (2) even if there were multiple writers of Chinese
descent, they had to replicate the same market-tested story about the Chinese
American experience.

This is changing as I write this book. Poetry is having a renaissance in which
many of the most exciting—and rightly celebrated—poets are people of color. It’s
happening for fiction too, but I’m more doubtful about that genre, since the
industry is still 86 percent white and fiction is more susceptible to the fickle
tastes of the market. As the poet Prageeta Sharma said, Americans have an
expiration date on race the way they do for grief. At some point, they expect you
to get over it. But as suspicious as I am, I also hope that we can seize this
opportunity and change American literature completely. Overhaul the tired ethnic
narratives that have automated our identities; that have made our lives palatable
to a white audience but removed them from our own lived realities—and stop
spelling ourselves out in the alphabet given to us.

For the last twenty years, until recently, Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories were the template
of ethnic fiction that supports the fantasy of Asian American immigrants as
compliant strivers. The fault lies not in Lahiri herself, who I think is an absorbing
storyteller, but in the publishing industry that used to position her books as the
“single story” on immigrant life. Using just enough comforting ethnic props to
satisfy the white reader’s taste for cultural difference, Lahiri writes in a flat,
restrained prose, where her characters never think or feel but just do: “I…opened
a bank account, rented a post office box, and bought a plastic bowl and a spoon at
Woolworth’s.” Her characters are always understated and avoid any interiority,
which, as Jane Hu writes in The New Yorker, has become a fairly typical literary
affect that signals Asianness (in fact, more East Asianness than South Asianness)
to readers.

In Lahiri’s story “The Third and Final Continent,” the protagonist migrates
from Calcutta to Boston and lives with an elderly white landlady who
condescends to him as if he were a little boy. Unruffled by her quaint racism, he
grows fond of her and they reach an implicit cultural understanding. Later, his
wife joins him in Boston, and they assimilate with remarkable ease—“We are
American citizens now”—and his son grows up to attend Harvard.

Much of Lahiri’s fiction complies with the MFA orthodoxy of show, don’t
tell, which allows the reader to step into the character’s pain without having to, as
Susan Sontag writes, locate their own privilege “on the same map” as the
character’s suffering. Because the character’s inner thoughts are evacuated, the
reader can get behind the cockpit of the character’s consciousness and
cinematically see what the character sees without being disturbed by incessant
editorializing.

The ethnic literary project has always been a humanist project in which nonwhite
writers must prove they are human beings who feel pain. Will there be a future
where I, on the page, am simply I, on the page, and not I, proxy for a whole
ethnicity, imploring you to believe we are human beings who feel pain? I don’t
think, therefore I am—I hurt, therefore I am. Therefore, my books are graded on
a pain scale. If it’s 2, maybe it’s not worth telling my story. If it’s 10, maybe my
book will be a bestseller.

Of course, writers of color must tell their stories of racial trauma, but for too
long our stories have been shaped by the white imagination. Publishers expect
authors to privatize their trauma: an exceptional family or historic tragedy tests
the character before they arrive at a revelation of self-affirmation. In many Asian
American novels, writers set trauma in a distant mother country or within an
insular Asian family to ensure that their pain is not a reproof against American
imperial geopolitics or domestic racism; the outlying forces that cause their pain
—Asian Patriarchal Fathers, White People Back Then—are remote enough to
allow everyone, including the reader, off the hook.

At the start of his career, the poet and novelist Ocean Vuong was the living
embodiment of human resilience. Reviewers never missed an opportunity to
recite his biography: Vuong was born to a family of rice farmers in Vietnam who
immigrated to Connecticut as refugees after the Vietnam War; his mother
renamed Vuong “Ocean” to give him a new start in the United States; Vuong
couldn’t read until age eleven, which makes it all the more miraculous that he
became a prodigy and award-winning poet.

I love his debut collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, and teach it in my
poetry workshops. Much of his collection is about how his queer desire is rooted
in the paternal violence he endured as a child. In a poem about the speaker’s
father, Vuong writes:

…No use. I turn him
over. To face it. The cathedral

in his sea-black eyes. The face
not mine—but one I will wear

to kiss all my lovers good-night.

In his father’s lifeless eyes, the speaker sees the patrilineal ruins of
colonialism and war. The speaker forms an erotic identification with his father
and the violence of his nation’s past and tries to recover it repeatedly through
brutal sexual encounters with strangers.

The public reception to his latest novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, has
been sensitive to the intersectional complexities of his identity, a response that
shows signs of change. But even as recently as 2016, much of the media ignored

Vuong’s queer identity because it didn’t fit into their image of the tragic
Vietnamese refugee. In multiple interviews, Vuong is asked to rehearse his
shattering experiences of refugee impoverishment and the salvation he found in
poetry. He reassures the public that he has not only sung but lived through his
libretto of hurt so that his poetry and biography have become welded into a single
American myth of individual triumph.

Richard Pryor frames his trauma fully aware that Americans have long been
entertained by the black body in pain. In his New Yorker profile on Richard
Pryor, Hilton Als remarks on the phenomenon of the single story that exalts black
experience:

The subject of blackness has taken a strange and unsatisfying journey
through American thought: first, because blackness has almost always
had to explain itself to a largely white audience in order to be heard, and,
second, because it has generally been assumed to have only one story to
tell—a story of oppression that plays on liberal guilt.

But when Pryor confesses to his own personal traumas—the beatings he
received as a child, a play-by-play account of when he almost died from a heart
attack—what aporetic reaction does he ignite in his audience, who expects to
laugh? His stories are devastating and I’m laughing until I’m in tears. In Live in
Concert, Pryor personifies his own heart. “Don’t breathe!” his heart commands in
a stern bullying voice. “You’re thinking about dying now….You didn’t think
about it when you was eating all that pork!” As his heart taunts him, Pryor drops
to his knees, then he is down on his back, writhing around the stage, while his
heart—acting as Pryor’s inner cop—beats him down to submission, beats him
down until he is dying. We helplessly laugh.

Pryor joked that comedy was actually invented on the slave ship. One slave
turned to the other and said, “You thought your day was bad? Yesterday I was
king!” Scholar Glenda Carpio said that Pryor “outed black humor…which began
as a wrested freedom to laugh at that which was unjust and cruel.”

Humor was a form of survival, since it created necessary psychic distance
from slavery. It was also a secret code to an underground world where the master
was not only outside it, but the object of ridicule. In his essay “An Extravagance
of Laughter,” Ralph Ellison writes that when whites heard black laughter, they
were left with “the baffled general feeling that they had been lampooned without
quite knowing how.”

In one small town, white Southerners were so menaced by black laughter,
they set up barrels in the town square. When black people had an urge to laugh,
they had to stick their heads inside those barrels to stifle their mirth. While this
story, recounted by Ellison in his essay, may sound apocryphal, in 2015, eleven
women, ten of them black and one white, traveled as a book club on an antique
train tour through the Northern Californian wineries. They were having a
wonderful time until the train stopped at a station where police officers rushed in
and forced them out of the train because of complaints that they were laughing
too loudly.

This incident inspired the hashtag #laughingwhileblack.

Carpio argues that Pryor was the first comedian to expose private black humor to
a white audience. Many African Americans echo her observation, remarking on
the “shock of recognition” when they first heard Pryor. They probably felt that
shock of recognition because he’s nobody’s spokesman. Onstage, Pryor is fearful,
belligerent, hysterical, and boasts about his self-destruction. Not only that, Pryor
pries open the deep historical taboos of miscegenation by flaunting his desire for
white women. In his comparisons between white female lovers and black female
lovers, for instance, Pryor toes the line between enabling and destabilizing
stereotypes:

There really is a difference between white women and black women.
I’ve dated both….Black women, you be suckin’ on their pussy and they
be like, “Wait, nigger, shit. A little more to the left, motherfucker. You
gonna suck the motherfucker, get down.” You can fuck white women
and if they don’t come they say, “It’s all right, I’ll just lay here and use a
vibrator.”

Where do I, as a Korean American woman, situate myself when Pryor sets up
these black/white binaries? One minute I’m laughing at white people, and feeling
the rage of black oppression as if it’s my own, until the next bit, when I realize
I’m allied with white people. I become more uncomfortable when Pryor goes
deep into the sexual differences between white women and black women. Did I
laugh because I am neither black nor white, thereby escaping the sting of being
caricatured and objectified? Should I be offended on behalf of white women or
black women?

Pryor’s monologue perpetuates the sexist stereotypes that black women are
aggressive and manly as opposed to white women, who are passive and ultra-
feminine. Meanwhile, Pryor sets himself up as the prized virile black male. And
yet, this trope also belies a dynamic that’s a bit more complicated, in that Pryor
reserves a secret admiration for black women because they don’t put up with his
bullshit, while tacitly acknowledging that the passivity of white women is …

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