My dad isn’t racist. I think I can make that true.
In 1978, my dad did blackface.
The first time I told this joke on stage, this is as far as I got. The audience inhaled so quickly that I lost my nerve and I ended the set there. It was very much like, “My dad did blackface. Thank you, goodnight!” And, I ran off the stage. So…
In 1978, my dad decided to go to a Halloween party as Richard Pryor. It was not a good idea, even then it wasn’t a classy move. But, he really wanted to do it.
And, he totally committed. My Machete-looking, like maybe he has throwing knives in his leather vest, dad bought black stage foundation, grew a thick moustache, and had a perm put into his thick Mexican hair. It was truly a proud Soul Glow moment. He got a polo shirt and a knitted hat with a pom-pom. He was in all the way. He did ALL the cocaine.
And, he ran around the party telling people to, “Kiss his happy black ass.”
This is why I grew up in a house with a pic of my dad in blackface hugging my Uncle Rudy, wearing a hotdog costume. Rudy decided not to be political that year, I guess.
And, I can see how it’s not okay, absolutely. But, I think that the case can be made that he wasn’t being racist, he was being a fangirl.
Definitely misplaced, but not a hate crime.
I'm Jane Malone.