For those who make public appearances of any kind, whether on front of 1 person or thousands, know your limitations. Humor is the best way to make people comfortable around you and open many doors. But when you are not appearing as a comedian, don;t try anything that might be misconstrued as hurtful or insulting. Comics can get away with it, you can’t. This is a classic example of someone who was trying to be funny and didn’t think it out long and hard before making a joke at a public gathering. The simple lesson here is that the killing of someone else, especially when it’s being covered by the National media and has racial overtones, is not the subject matter with which to seek to elicit laughter.
Barney Frank’s Trayvon Martin Joke Shocks Commencement Audience
Rep. Barney Frank’s Provocative Trayvon Martin Joke Shocks Commencement Audience
by James Crugnale, Mediaite.com | 3:27 pm, May 28th, 2012
While speaking at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth undergraduate commencement, Congressman Barney Frank made a provocative Trayvon Martin joke that stunned the audience. Frank made the controversial remark while he was referring to Hubie Jones, who was an African-American recipient of an honorary doctorate.
“One of the great men that I’ve worked with Hubie for many years and I’m particularly pleased that Hubie got an honorary degree today. You know, when you get an honorary degree they give you one of these and Hubie, I think you now got a hoodie you can wear and no one will shoot at you.”
WCVB-Boston reports that audience members gasped at Frank’s joke, “I think you’ll feel, I hope, pretty protected by that,” he added.
The report went on to say that Jones defended Frank, saying he didn’t believe Frank made the joke to offend people.