Larry Wilmore sat down with Rev. Al Sharpton on PoliticsNation this week to discuss the recent flap over his use of the words “my nigga,” to reference President Barack Obama at the close of his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner recently.

I was particularly happy to see Sharpton and Wilmore have this discussion publicly because it gave Wilmore an opportunity to set the record straight and provide the necessary context for people like Sharpton who are of the opinion that it was disrespectful or in “poor taste,” as Sharpton quipped last week. Wilmore explained that his closing remark was more of an opportunity to make a statement than actually making a joke.

“It was at the point where I wanted to make a statement more than a joke,” Wilmore explained to Sharpton. “I didn’t view that portion as a joke. And I really wanted to explain the historical implications of the Obama presidency from my point of view. I’m the same age as the president. We graduated from high school at the same time. And a lot of people don’t have awareness of how racism exists to the people who are being affected by it. They just see things like the Civil Rights Act, you know? Slavery and events like that, but they don’t have the experience of it,” He continued.

As I pointed out last week, I totally got where Wilmore was coming from. As a satirist myself with a penchant for the irreverent as I communicate my thoughts on this very website, as a black man, I fully understood the intent. In fact, this was the centerpiece of my argument in defense of Wilmore’s use of the word in the wake of the controversy. But see, that’s the beauty of great satire or comedy. That would be as I’ve always said over the years: If you’re not laughing at a joke, you’re not paying attention.

wilmore-sharptonIn my experience, as polarizing and contentious as topics like race and racism can be, in the interest of broadening the conversation a writer of comedy has to take calculated risks. However, in doing so, as for me, much thought isn’t given to the blowback. Why? Because I’ve always felt that if I have to explain a joke, then I clearly didn’t do a good job of constructing said joke. As I see it, Wilmore was excellent when he captured the historic significance of Obama’s presidency in that moment. After all, it’s like I said in the opening of the post I wrote about this last week: Given the level of vitriol from the color aroused among us, there’s a strong chance that we’ll never see another black president in America. Like I said then, there’s a very strong chance that SkyNet has already sent a Terminator from the future to kill the next black president as a child before he even has an opportunity to live up to that possibility.

You know, because that’s what racism does – it kills dreams.

Take a moment to read what I wrote in defense of Wilmore’s use of the word and tell me what you think (click here). Additionally, check out the second part of Sharpton’s interview with Wilmore where they discuss whether America is ready for a white president in the post-Obama era.