According to Jackson, this idea of “racial paranoia” is present in some of our most basic every-day acts, when something is perceived as racist whether it was blatantly discriminatory or not. We have come a long way since the days of Jim Crow laws and other more obvious racist acts against African Americans, but Jackson’s story of Dave Chappelle shows how easily racial paranoia can affect someone. The feeling of paranoia that Chappelle had due to his coworker’s reaction to one of his comedy sketches was not due to an outright act of racism, rather it was his underlying tone that left the comedian feeling uneasy. I feel this is something that is easily described through comedy, especially when the comedian is a minority. It’s easy to laugh at someone’s joke or a story they are telling about being a certain race (which I feel many comedians comment on at least once in each act), but these jokes are commonly based on stereotyping minorities and trying to make light of the subject. Unfortunately, even if the intent is to poke fun at a sensitive topic, it is not always taken as such.
As I mentioned before, we have come quite far from the early American mistreatment of African Americans, for example with Jim Crow Laws and slavery. This feeds into Jackson’s idea that racial paranoia is a post racial condition. Racism was such a big issue leading up to the Civil Rights Movement, but then it seems that our country stopped bringing so much attention to racism, as there were movements and legislation that addressed it as unlawful. Unfortunately, there is still ample, if not even more violent, racism in our country today. With our easy access to the media, it’s impossible to miss all of the terrible things happening to minorities and majorities alike across the country. I was raised with a mindset that no man is a lesser man simply due to his race. There are so many other things that define us. It’s quite disgusting to me that we, as a nation, can be so obviously unequal across races.