Saturday, May 10, 2008

Eddie Murphy: 'Kill the White People'

I recently came across this video from an old Saturday Night Live sketch, back when Eddie Murphy was on the show, in the 1980s. It's rather striking what they could get away with back then:



It some ways, it reminds me of Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles," which -- despite its rather outrageous plot, characters and steady stream of jokes -- had a rather serious theme of racial equity.

Murphy did a lot of routines on SNL that poked racism in the eye. This one confronts white racist attitudes and fears about blacks, specifically the fear that black men especially are consumed by rage and pose a threat to our lives and well-being. The "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood" routines made fun of our views of inner city life.

In the end, I think Murphy and his humor, raunchy and raw though it often was, did a lot to tear down some of the walls that existed between the races in America today.

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