Laughter As A Mask of Fear and Pain

I hoped Charles Blow would write about Justice Scalia today, who bespoke his own form of racial razzle-dazzle.

I have been thinking of Scalia and the work of Stepin Fetchit as a revolutionary cautionary tale. Deliberately calculated, it made fun of the fears of lynching and brutality and mocked the physical forces that regulated black life, for a privileged citizenry.

His exaggeration of lazy (he was known as the laziest man in the world!) merged with the persona of the gentlemen of ease, those with great wealth–and with the resistance of those exploited and robbed of their labor’s value, those who faced a world of harsh, brutal, incidental hostility.

His comedic rendering gave a new, unspoken meaning to these dangers.
He was laughed at, and put down. But he never sold out. His speech and gait pointed to the price of his hurt. His agony was visible behind every laugh.

He made the mask transparent to those who knew its code. Some of us see America with his eyes. Judge Scalia, we are looking at you.


Do Republican candidates want to win the election or serve justice? Outspoken on Trump, so far silent on Scalia. They are a better fit for the dangers and stereotypes they seek to assign to others at home and abroad.


A Crass Act – The New York Times


Lincoln Perry



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