Laughing at Racism

It is hard to find anything to laugh about when it comes to racism and anti-racism, but damali ayo (her capitalization) has put together some humorous and satirical books, How to Rent a Negro, and the 2010 book, Obamistan! Land without Racism, to demonstrate the nonsense about a post-racial world with humor and insight.

She has an art background, and has also been involved in eco-activism. Her website describes her approach as “Now Art”:

She describes Now Art as being immediate, participatory, and engaging social issues. Ayo believes that “art should make you think and feel.” She eschews art that is primarily for decoration. She believes that artists and comedians have a special task to push our culture to understand itself in order to change itself.

One of her interesting “Now Art” pieces is a

free practical guide of ten steps to improving race relations titled I Can Fix It! This guide gives ten simple solutions to address our current “third grade level of race relations.” … damali brings the I Can Fix It! guide [download from here] to life in her stage shows where she uses humor, stories, and slides to inspire people. Presented simply and directly, ayo’s approach to race relations is unforgettable. She makes people pay attention to what is going on inside and around them and to take responsibility for changing it. And damali has plenty of first-hand experience doing just that- she started at a young age by integrating her school’s doll collection with Black Raggedy Ann and Andy.

The commentaries by numerous whites on her book point up the impact of even a humorous look at white racist stuff on many whites. The positive and confirmation comments from people of color and some whites are even more interesting and revealing about its truths. Strategies against racism come, and need to come, in many different forms.