The Daily Show’s “senior black correspondent," Larry Wilmore, was named replacement for Stephen Colbert this past Friday. Comedy Central reveals the show will feature a diverse panel of lesser-known entertainers, alongside Wilmore, to discuss hot topics with a cultural and comedic lens.
All great news except, his upcoming show is being titled “The Minority Report." WTF, Wilmore! Not only are you associating the show with the dead-eyed creepy ass Tom Cruise, but where’s the creativity here? I get it – you want to take back ownership of the word ‘minority,' yes? You think its clever, edgy…refreshing even. But, let’s discuss the connotation of the word. Minority defines as “a part of a population differing from others in some characteristics and often subjected to differential treatment” [via Merriam-Webster].
Definition in mind, do we think that ‘minorities’ believe they’re treated differently or that we’re different from who, by demographic standards, are considered the majority [Caucasians]? Correct me if I’m wrong here, but hasn’t the argument always been that we bleed and shit the same?
We should be moving away from the standard way of thinking. As a Puerto Rican comedian, I’m constantly fighting the stigma that in order to be funny or marketable, I have to be a loud boisterous incomprehensible accent-bearing Chola! (Granted, the ombre lip is now a trend again and I kind of dig it – don’t judge, Alicia!) I’m not Latina by definitive standards of what we see on TV.
This raises the question: do the network executives believe drawing attention to the racism problem means they’re solving the problem?
Did we not learn from Leslie Jones and her valiant (yet failed) attempt to win audiences over by calling herself a ‘mandingo’ and claiming the number 1 draft pick if we were in slavery times on SNL’s Weekend Update? We laughed at first, then collectively realized it was inappropriate. Jones dealt with being called "irresponsible" by This Week in Blackness founder, James White, and from Ebony editor, Jamilah Lemieux, "a big loud monkey."
How about MSNBC’s Cinco de Mayo monstrosity when in an effort to be relatable anchor, Louis Burgdorf, made a fool of himself not only by donning stereotypically-traditional Mexican garb but his embarrassing attempt to demonstrate what the holiday means to him (and ultimately the network) - downing tequila whilst shaking his maracas. Latinos simultaneously rolled their eyes and thought, “they still don’t get us!”
The term minority is lazy and we need to move away from it already! Wilmore – your comedy is clever and thought-provoking but where was the thought in the creation of this show’s name? The intention to gain back ownership of the word ‘minority’ and draw attention to the obvious, whoever’s idea it was, falls flat. What if Colbert’s show was named “The Majority Report?" You wouldn’t be replacing him come January. I like you, Wilmore, I do and I mean no threat when I say: You’ve got seven months to change the name, Wilmore. Challenge!