Apparently even people in interracial relationships who work in industries made up of over 70% blacks can’t make jokes about race.
We know this because Atlanta Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox attempted just such a thing at an event for Hawks season ticket holders. The event, called “Chalk Talk,” gives the Hawks brass a chance to converse with some of the team’s most valued fans.
However, because of the Hawks’ mediocre record, the conversation took on an angry tone. One fan, Clarenton Crawford, said he would buy more tickets if the team fired head coach Mike Budenholzer and hired Mark Jackson. Wilcox sought to take the edge off the exchange with a little racial humor. Wilcox joked, “I know you guys may be angry with me, but I’m used to it because I have a black wife and three mixed kids, so I’m used to people being angry and argumentative.”
Not long afterwards, Wilcox issued a statement to Deadspin. Wilcox wrote, “At an early December chalk talk, I made a self-deprecating comment at my own expense regarding my family, which is multi-racial. This joke offended Mr. Crawford and his wife and for that, I apologize.”
This makes no sense at all. The major problem with Wilcox’s joke is that it’s not funny, not that it’s racist or in poor taste. Wilcox is part of an interracial marriage which has produced three children, and that sounds like an awful good immunity against the charge of racism to me.
So what exactly “offended” Mr. Crawford? Clearly Wilcox is no racist. Did the mere mention of race offend him? Crawford likely doesn’t know why he’s offended either. Whatever the case, there definitely is cause for offense. We should all be offended that anyone got offended by this lame, but harmless joke.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn