We are all Doug, we are all ‘Black Jeop­ardy’ con­tes­tants

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES -

It’s been a few years since we thought about the fa­bled “one per­cent” but “Satur­day Night Live” brought it back to us in a — ahem — big league way the other night dur­ing their “Black Jeop­ardy” sketch.

Did you see it? It’s worth your six min­utes. Nor­mally, this re­cur­ring sketch plays out like this: Keenan Thomp­son is the “Black Jeop­ardy” host and there’s two black cast mem­bers and a clue­less white per­son to round out the con­tes­tant pool. The “joke,” as it is, is that the white per­son is stymied by any­thing from racism to po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness to stu­pid­ity when an­swer­ing the ques­tions.

This time, though, a big dif­fer­ence. Tom Hanks played “Doug.” Doug was mar­ble-mouthed and wear­ing a “Make Amer­ica Great Again” hat along with an Amer­i­can flag and ea­gle T-shirt. He was the car­i­ca­ture of “white work­ing class Trump voter.”

Thomp­son, as host, was ready to dis­miss Hanks, that is, un­til he starts an­swer­ing the ques­tions cor­rectly. If you haven’t seen it, watch it, then come back here. I don’t want to spoil the jokes.

But af­ter the laughs and the ob­vi­ous­ness of the “hey wait a minute, car­i­ca­tures of black peo­ple and car­i­ca­tures of Trump vot­ers have more in com­mon than any­one ever as­sumed,” comes the big­ger re­veal, or at least the re­veal I’m tak­ing away from it: We’re all black, we’re all white work­ing class Trump vot­ers, and we’re all equally screwed. Happy Wed­nes­day! Lis­ten, Doug is right: The sys­tem is rigged, and they’ve got us. While the wealthy rule the gov­ern­ment and the world, the rest of us fight each other for the scraps. It’s prac­ti­cally Gotham City down here.

Sure, there are cul­tural dif­fer­ences be­tween black peo­ple and Trump vot­ers, be­tween mid­dle­class Asian-Amer­i­cans and work­ing class Soviet bloc im­mi­grants. Name any two groups, I can list 5,000 ways they’re dif­fer­ent. We get that. We un­der­stand.

But vir­tu­ally all of us want ex­actly the same things: Food on the ta­ble, a roof over our heads, enough money in the bank to keep the trains run­ning, to love and to be loved.

But in­stead of rec­og­niz­ing we’re all the same, we seek to find dif­fer­ences. In­stead of hav­ing a true democ­racy — one “of the peo­ple” — we keep send­ing the elites to gov­ern us. In­stead of do­ing some­thing about all this, we keep com­plain­ing to deaf ears.

Some num­bers: Ac­cord­ing to the So­cial Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the top 20 per­cent of earned in­come in Amer­ica is made by the top one per­cent. And this is just earned in­come, the kind you get from work­ing, not the kind you get in land deals, in­ter­est, etc. Start talk­ing wealth, and it’s le­git up­set­ting, as 76 per­cent of the wealth is owned by 10 per­cent of Amer­i­cans, ac­cord­ing to a New York Univer­sity study. Put an­other way: About 90 per­cent of us wres­tle over 24 per­cent of Amer­ica’s wealth, and most of that wealth is lo­cated to­ward the top end.

And not only are the su­per-rich in con­trol of the cash, they’re also in con­trol of our daily lives.

The av­er­age Con­gress­man is worth well over a mil­lion dol­lars.

Are you worth over a mil­lion dol­lars? Me nei­ther. I have a hard time be­liev­ing peo­ple who are su­per-wealthy have the best in­ter­ests of the rest of us in mind. I wrote about this a few years ago, ad­vo­cat­ing we stop elect­ing rich peo­ple. Seems in­tu­itive.

Lis­ten: While all see in each other are dif­fer­ences, the fact is we’re all alike to those at the top of the eco­nomic lad­der. And un­til we fig­ure this out and leave our tribes be­hind and unite for a com­mon goal, we’re go­ing to con­tinue to get steam­rolled by the man.

At least we can laugh about it.

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