You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey – Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Audible)

This is a series of anecdotes all horrifying, in fact, but written by a comedian and gifted writer and performed by both sisters, mostly Amber Ruffin. Most of the stories expose isolated incidents of or long periods of racism experienced within neighborhoods, rural/suburban communities, public school classrooms and church youth groups experienced by one person, Lacey Lamar, in her native Omaha, Nebraska and surrounds. 

The thing is, when you hear one of these stories after another and you’ve heard about or observed a few similar episodes of both casual or out there racism or racist microagression, this “funny” set of stories about what the writers admit are NOT unusual are not really that “crazy” as in “funny.” It makes one feel kind of sick and angry (Well, as a white person with white tears). Most of the categories were not super new to me in content, though some were very unusual and the sheer volume is mind-blowing. (And I grew up in an area of PA that houses many, many people like those of Omaha with out there white supremacy biases and casual stereotyping comments and racial profiling that continue to give today and everyday).  

Since this is portrayed as a fairly funny work, and my mood was off, I decided to imagine how one sees the humor in every single thing that these sisters put in their book. Apparently they could have made the book many times bigger and all the kids in their family, now adults, could add at least book’s worth of stories. So I said to myself, “relax into this and get some insight into how people experience these things while you’re at it, instead of just feeling pissed off fool.” And what I got was an incredibly entertaining and educational look into as well as something of a memoir about a fascinating Black family in Omaha, a couple of really interesting women and their sisterly relationship, more laughs than expected and a desire to read every book they ever write again. AND. It pisses me off and makes me sick, but that takes me to what I started saying long ago when white acquaintances or coworkers expressed various racist views, “What is there about me that makes you think it was okay to say that about me? Do you think I’d approve of racist comments or ideas?” And despite her clearly not setting out to educate people like me, I did get so much from this book. I’m glad I listened. I’ll probably buy a hard copy for the pictures they had to describe for us audible readers, albeit in a satisfying manner!

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