Dan Savage was on the Colbert Report two nights ago — and it was hilarious. Even Steven Colbert, of all people, looked a little embarrassed by some of the sex-themed joking. But Savage did a great job and then he had a wonderful op-ed in the Times today. He’s hit upon some very important notes in the Prop 8, gay marriage debate.
Ta-Nehisi Coates posted about a joke Savage made early on in his interview. And then had to explain the words he used. Which makes me laugh for two reasons. One is his post’s update, in which he says he’ll try to be “appallingly earnest for a week” when he says things that his white readers think are offensive. The other is from an older post of his.
Apparently, one of his readers/friends asked for a black dictionary to help explain the terms he uses in his writing that may not be familiar to white people. Coates was semi-acquiesing, but pointed out that black people have to live everyday without the aid of a “whitionary”:
No one explains to us why Gatsby couldn’t kick Daisy to the curb, why cucumber sandwiches taste good, or why keg parties are fun. White folk just look at you like, Figure it out nigger. To be a black professional is to a be a five-year old kid, straight out El Salvador, dropped into a class where no one speaks Spanish. Except that five-year olds are quicker than us.
Now, that is both funny and extremely anthropologically intriguing. For someone who thinks of myself as so open-minded and progressive, etc, etc. I had never taken even a second to consider that point until he pointed it out.