I once told a joke about race on national television.
I was seventeen. It was 1994 and I was representing the state of Alabama as Alabama’s Junior Miss. This probably won’t shock you, but Alabama had never had a Black junior miss before. I was it, and as you can imagine, there were a fair number of folks who were a little uncomfortable.
They weren’t unhappy with it. Or angry. The truth was, they just didn’t know what to make of me, how I’d be different, or what the year would hold.
“I walked into a Denny’s the other day,” I said, smiling to the camera. “And the waitress said, 'I’m sorry, we don’t serve Black people here. And I said, ‘Good, ‘cause I don’t eat ‘em.’”
Well, the audience laughed, thank God. Because the only thing worse than making a joke about race on national television is having no one laugh at the joke you told about race on national...