Bart Simpson and The Race Issue
I beginwriting at 6am. And this week it’s a fifteen to twenty minute piece for TheHammersmith Lyric Theatre, for a show taster called Why I don’t Hate White People . I shall be getting on stae and performing it in November. It is fifteen to twenty minutes of mirth, twenty minutes of comedic script written and performed by myself as stand up.
It’s my first foray into stand up comedy and I’ve chosen the subject of race. I am very nervous about this. Comedy is one of the hardest things to do. Because we laugh at comedy it’s easy not to realise that it is a serious business based onwriting. I am going to try. Comedians are hard grafters and I do not take this lightly. Much of it is already written.
Next weekTuesday to Friday I’ll be in Manchester rehearsing this piece under the direction of John McGrath. There is a voice at the back of my mind that says that I have made a humungous mistake. It speaks like Golum from Lord of the rings. The event shall be performed for three evenings. I can’t believe I agreed to that in my contract. The fee doesn’t really stand up to the work load but still if I am going to shaft meself I may as well go ahead and do it properly.
Did an interview tonight, on the phone, for a magazine called Citizen 32. It’s their“race” issue. I found the questions limiting. Not because the interviewer was asking bad questions but because the rules of engagement with the subject matter feel predetermined. It is ever thus here in England. Isn’t it a gift that we are different and that our horizons are expanded by our discovery of difference? Isn’t this one of the basics of human existence, the discovery and exploration of others?
It’s not rocket science - Colonialism has a lot to answer for. Colonising physical space or people is one thing but colonising ideas is another more subtle and yet no less destructive process. I was asked the seemingly inevitable question butisn’t it about Class more than Race. Why can’t it be about both and what is the motivation to deny one rather than the other.
I grew up in the north of England when the miners strike was on. I remember the striking miners and I remember their overt racism. The need for the white working class communist to deny the black man the right to identify himselfas such is initself an enactment of racism.
Mid interview the Simpsons appears on television – I watch it every day ifpossible - so I had to stop and continue the interview later in the evening. Now that is dedication to your subject matter.