On the Day After Christmas, ESPN’s Jemele Hill Takes Aim at ‘The Toy’

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ESPN’s Jemele Hill, no stranger to expressing her opinions on Twitter, offered her take on an American movie classic on the day after Christmas.

Except her take was not about White Christmas, A Christmas Story, The Elf, or any of the other Christmas classics one would expect to hear about on the morning after Christmas. No, instead Hill opined on a different type of movie altogether, she tweeted about the the 1982 Richard Pryor film, The Toy:

The vast majority of replies to Hill’s tweet seemed to share her disdain, and, like Hill, missed the obvious joke completely:

Though, at least one Twitter user picked-up on the obvious joke:

Yes, it is disturbing indeed. Since this apparently needs to be spelled-out for the social justice warrior crowd of 2017, the obvious play on words in “Master Bates,” is masturbates. Get it? If the joke was a reference to white, slave-holding, plantation aristocracy; then it was a joke mocking, that aristocracy.

A fact that must have seemed obvious to people in 1982 and, to Pryor himself (a man who was not silent on issues of race) but is completely lost on the humorless, unthinking, race-obsessed crowd of today.

In fact, the term “Master” is still used by servants in Britain today in a non-racial context, a fact I became aware of on a recent trip when a white hotel worker referred to me (also white) as “Master Gwinn.”

Does that word have a different connotation in America? Especially when used by a black person towards a white person? Sure. But as Hill’s tweet and the replies to it show, if you become obsessed with seeing race in everything, you’ll miss the point of most things.

For instance, in the movie, Pryor’s character (Jack Brown) and “the white kid” (Eric Bates, played by Scott Schwartz) strike-up a real friendship. One that includes a scene where the Jack causes the Grand Wizard of the KKK to fall into a bowl of chocolate fudge. Was that done to make the KKK look good?


Yet, in the world of Jemele Hill and her followers, you would never even get to that point because you would have been too obsessed with one word, of one joke, that was an obvious play on words with no racial intent, and everything after that would have been a waste.