Raj Against The Machine is back!
Comedian Rajiv Satyal rants about comedy, pop culture, politics, personal branding, and philosophy. After a long hiatus... Episode 3 covers Black Lives Matter.
Welcome, everybody, to Raj Against The Machine. I'm Raj. Let's do this. Right now, I’m speaking directly to the South Asian community in the United States. And I want to make seven points.
THANK YOU to groups like South Asians for Black Lives Matter. It is inspiring to see this next generation stand up for our African American brothers and sisters, because…
For too long, there has been anti-black racism in all communities, including ours. That's why I was proud to see so many of us participate in Black Out Tuesday.
And for a lot of you Instagram models, that was the best pic you've ever put up. Damn, son. That was savage. Classy. Bougie. Ratchet. (Too old to quote Megan Thee Stallion.)
But for many of us, the heavy lifting includes sitting down with the older generation trying to get them on board. Because a lot of them are, how should we say this mildly… INSANELY RACIST. It's not going to be easy. They blame things like "antifa." And dude, I get it. Anything that starts with "auntie" in our culture strikes fear in our hearts. But you know what? We gotta get them on board. Some of them may not come along, and for them… We have to employ tactics that maybe the other side would use: Lie to them about when Election Day is. Hide their medication. Let the air out of their tires. You know, do your part.
A South Asian actress friend of mine just posted on the ’Gram — “B!tches love the ’Gram” — about microaggressions. No. You know what? Now is not the time.
BLM ≠ #MeToo
I’m tired of our people standing in the splash zone of racism. Being asked, "Where are you from?" is not the same thing as being murdered by the police. THIS IS WHY LIBERALS LOSE. Lack of focus. This is what conservatives are dope at, okay? They find a wedge issue — get all the pro-lifers, all the pro-gun people. Game-set-match. That is the election. That is why it's called a wedge issue — because it's sharp. They wedge it in there. Liberals try to pile everything in. Let's get microaggressions and the racist patriarchy and all at once.
It reminds me of My Cousin Vinny, when Joe Pesci is like, "Is there any more sh!t we can pile onto the top of the outcome of this case?!”
Stop litigating the small stuff. “OMG, if only Mindy Kaling would’ve cast a black man from Minnesota in Never Have I Ever, none of this ever would’ve happened.” NO.
Let’s do the hardest work first: black people are being killed due to anti-black racism in this country. Do the hard work and the rest will follow. #FREEYOURMIND
Remember, I would not even be here right now if it weren’t for the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. You know how we thank veterans for their service? Next time we see a black person on the street, we should say, “Thank you for your service.”
As a standup comic, I want to speak on the Woke and the Joke. Look, jokes are not the problem. Jokes are signposts that tell you where the problems are. When a crowd reacts to a joke — whether they laugh or clap or boo — it tells you that it's resonating. "Funny ’Cause It’s True.” There’s truth buried under there and we need to dig to get to the root of the issue. So please do not attack comedians for making a joke. Don't grab us by the “PC." Attack the underlying issue that makes the joke possible.
I came up in Fairfield, Ohio. And this was the scene next to the street where I grew up:
As I say in my political solo show, The Man in The Middle, I have no axe to grind with the whites.
One Vision. One Eyebrow.
I was Class President. Elected by just about 500 white kids. I rose through the volunteer ranks at one of the premier tennis tournaments in the world — outside of Cincinnati. And you know how I got my job at Procter & Gamble — "The Peeg”? Through the man who ran the tournament. An able-bodied, cisgendered, white, straight male.
Part of the appeal of South Asians is that we’re brown. We're in the middle of the color spectrum. We're not black or white. We're like a fashion statement. We're the new gray. We can speak to both sides. That is our role right now. We can accomplish that.
Remember, this is not a battle of people of color vs. whites. That is a losing battle. That is a zero-sum game. This is all of us against racism, against sexism, against homophobia. THEY are the enemy. Not our fellow citizens.
We've lost sight of the fact that most people are good. Remember, Civil Rights would not have passed if there were not some good white people out there to make that happen. Women would not have suffrage if some men would not have voted for the issue.
How appropriate. ’68 was the last year protests this big happened.
Yes, I’m a brown man, but since I was a small child, nothing has made me happier than watching white people and black people get along. It literally brings tears to my eyes. And it’s great when that happens without teargas.
The key now is to keep it going. Remember, at this point in the 2018 cycle, the Parkland students were out there marching for gun control. Come November, gun control was not even a top five issue. Look how quickly we forgot about a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. Guys, we can't march forever. We have to follow what Barack Obama said — "Don't boo. VOTE.” He is telling us — run for local office, county office, state office. This is a movement. You have to move, or it meant nothing. It’s like working out. You can’t just decide to drop down and do 100 pushups one night. You have to make a sustained commitment for the rest of your life to diet and exercise. So, as Mahatma Gandhi said — "Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
And this is the place to do it —
“No other country on Earth has endeavored something of this magnitude: to treat hundreds of millions of people THIS diverse the same.”
(What a handsome dude.)
South Asian Americans right now live better than anybody in history. We're the wealthiest ethnic group in the richest nation the world has ever seen. If WE aren’t empowered to do something, nobody is.
I’ve been going Live every Thursday at 10 PM Eastern on Instagram Live, Facebook Live, YouTube Live. Hey — Brown Lives Matter.
On my iPhone, my MacBook Air, and my iMac. Yeah, to talk about privilege.
Join me. Now let's get to work. Thank you.
“Come with it now!”
Rajiv Satyal is a standup comic. He resides in Los Angeles.