An interview with Larry Wilmore, author of I’d Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts, which was published by Hyperion.
PW: Why did you write this book?
LW: I always wanted to do a black satirical book. I don’t think there’s anything like that—like in the vein of Woody Allen; I’ve never seen that on race. There hasn’t been a lot of black satire. In that spirit it’s not to be taken seriously; it’s meant for people to have as much fun as possible. And maybe it could even be a movie; I’d like it to turn into a James Bond franchise. And Will Smith plays me. He’d have to be a little older and paunchier. Of course, there’s make-up.
PW: What differentiates a black thought from a white thought?
LW: There is no distinction: it’s just that a black thought is uniquely a black thought. It is not an anti-white thought, it has to fully embody the essence of being black. It isn’t post-racial; it is completely racial. I don’t know if there are white thoughts, or if there are other color thoughts. I am not the authority on other thoughts. You have to specifically try to have a black thought. You don’t have it automatically; you have to generate it. You don’t have a black thought because you’re black. It has nothing to do with who you are, but how you’re thinking. It is possible for you to have a pink thought. It is the nappy-headed hoes rule. You can make fun of yourself but once you start making fun of other people be careful. I can handle black thoughts, but as Don Imus found out, be careful.
PW: Will things be better now that a black man is in the White House?
LW: So far it seems better for us. I’m concerned for him because he’s moving in with his mother-in-law. That’s an issue. I don’t think that’s the change he was hoping for. It should be like an episode of The Jeffersons. It’s so weird with Obama. Limbaugh already said that he hopes that he fails; I was very shocked by that. He’s a very methodical guy. I don’t think we’re going to see any whirlwind type things.
PW: You say that you want to replace the term African-American with Chocolate. Why?
LW: It is just time. It’s a whole new century, and African-American is just 20th century. We change our names more than porn stars. Lets have something that’s fun. Chocolate is fun. Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s an infectious name. We just want people to say something without feeling bad and nobody feels bad saying chocolate. But it doesn’t have to be chocolate. That was just one option. Mad Men is a TV show that I watch and they came up with a campaign for Lucky Strikes that said, “It’s toasted.” That works for us too: we’re toasted.
PW: Regarding your book’s title: How can casinos help chocolate people?
LW: I’m not actually asking for casinos. I just would rather have had that than Black History Month. Native Americans got that; we can’t take it at this point. I do have a chapter called “Give Us the Super Dome,” where I offer some other ideas of what we can get now depending on what the transgression was to you specifically. I say everyone that was affected by Hurricane Katrina, give them the Super Dome.
PW: Who is, or was, your favorite black leader?
LW: Jesse Jackson. No one can rhyme like Jesse. He is the best. He can make anything rhyme. I don’t care if you’re playing scrabble. I don’t know why he hasn’t put out a rhyming dictionary. He’s been through a lot, too. Jessie’s the kind of guy you can respect and make fun of. He could find a rhyme for chocolate and you would feel guilty. Not everybody has that kind of magic.