The University of Oklahoma’s disgraced and disbanded Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter is (rightfully) not getting any slack, and this week Comedy Central hosts Larry Wilmore and Jon Stewart went in on their respective shows, pulling zero punches.
On Tuesday night, The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore spent time mocking those who don’t believe that racism is still a problem: “Racism doesn’t exist anymore, Larry. Why do you guys have to focus on race on your show? Just stop!” he said, putting on the voice of a whiny complainer.
“I’ll stop talking about race when people stop being racist,” Wilmore said before jokingly asking those capturing racist videos to shoot horizontally instead of vertically. “I want to experience my hate in 16:9, not 2:5, all right?”
Wilmore then applauded the university for almost immediately disbanding the frat and expelling two of the students before remarking, “Don’t worry, you won’t be seeing any more of those frat boys until they’re your congressman. Welcome to America, everybody, that’s how it works!”
Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, in his sarcasm-ridden analytical way, delved deep into America’s systematic racism, starting, of course, with the frat chant that ended UO’s SAE chapter. “But I believe it was Isaac Newton who once said, for every bus bending the arc of the universe towards justice, there’s another bus coming in the opposite direction trying really hard to bend that motherf—ker back,” Stewart quipped in the segment dubbed “The Brotherhood of the Traveling Chants.”
Of course, Stewart couldn’t resist slamming MSNBC’s Morning Joe for an early-morning panel in which hosts and a guest appeared to blame rap music for the students’ use of racial slurs.
“Two things: First of all, the kids on that bus weren’t repeating a rap song that they had heard. They were gleefully performing one of their fraternity’s old, let’s call them ‘anti-Negro spirituals,’ featuring a word that predates rap … and probably folk … and thought. Black rappers did not introduce that word into the vernacular,” Stewart pointed out.
“And second of all, how come, when conservatives talk about African Americans, they say, ‘These people need to take responsibility for themselves, pull up those pants, get a job.’ But when white people do something racist, they’re all, ‘You can’t blame them. How can those poor children know wrong from right after being driven to madness by the irresistible power of the hippity-hoppity?’”
But Stewart wasn’t nearly done. Pointing out all the racially charged incidents that have occurred in the recent past—from Clive Bundy’s opinion that black people were better off enslaved to the biased police practices found by the Justice Department in Ferguson, Mo.—Stewart lashed out at those (most pointedly, Fox News) who would consider them mere happenstance instead of evidence of a deeper-rooted problem.
“Rather than face the lingering reality of prejudice in this country, each incident—even the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report, as comprehensive a catalog of race-based predation as anyone’s gonna find—is an invitation to bend over backwards to negate the role of race,” Stewart said.
“No accumulation of racist incidents is enough to convince these guys that racism is still a societywide problem,” he added. “I guess in Fox world, poverty is a choice, but being racist is a product of your environment.”