On Saturday Night Live, Kamail Nanjiani hosted, and he kicked off the show with an amazing speech about teaching all the racists to be, well, better racists. Kumail Nanjiani's SNL monologue was a hilarious primer on racism. Pro tip: if you're going to be a racist to Nanjiani, he would at least appreciate it if you would take the time to get your facts straight. After all, if you can't even be accurate in your racist vitriol, how are you really going to get your point across, you know?
Nanjiani started by talking a little bit about his new movie, The Big Sick, which received mostly positive reviews, with a few oddball racist criticisms lobbed in for fun, including one guy who apparently didn't like "race mixing" which Nanjiani accurately pointed out is just a weird thing to say regardless. The movie was about Nanjiani's own marriage to a white woman and the issues that caused within his family, who wanted him to marry a Pakistani and Muslim person, because Nanjiani is Pakistani and Muslim. It's interesting, therefore, that a lot of the weird racist comments called for him to "Go back to India!" Nanjiani joked, "I've never been to India. Are they just hoping I have an awesome vacation soon?
Nanjiani went on to complain that his biggest issue with racism was really how inaccurate it can be. After all, if you're going to be a racist, you might as well get your facts straight. That way, it's not quite as easy to dismiss you as an ignorant garbage person. At least then everyone would know that you've done your research. Nanjiani brought up how difficult it must be for Sikh people to be victims of Islamophobia. People believe they are Muslim because they have brown skin, but then the Sikhs are in the awkward position of having to simultaneously say that they're not Muslim but you shouldn't attack Muslim people either.
This, then brought him to his "problem with most racism." There are obviously a lot of problems with racism, so I was pretty interested to hear Nanjiani's take. "I'm like 'Do the research! Put in the work! You will see the benefits!'" he joked. He went on to explain his point with an example. If someone shouted at him to go back to India he could just say, that guy's an idiot. But if somebody said, "Go back to Pakistan! Which was part of India until 1947 and is now home to the world's oldest salt mine," then he'd at least have to admit that this person seems to know what they're talking about. He finished the bit with what might be one of my favorite lines ever performed on the SNL stage. "An informed racist is a better racist," he said.
Now, it goes without saying that no kind of racism is actually acceptable, but Nanjiani does make a really excellent point. How can any racist worth his or her salt really expect to be taken seriously if they don't even know who they're being racist against? If you hate Muslim people, but can't recognize the difference between Muslim and Sikh religions (which are, by the way, two different religions) do you really even know what it is you hate?
This was Nanjiani's first time hosting Saturday Night Live, which, as one of the funniest actors working today, is a real shame. No one has been able to compete with Melissa McCarthy for sheer incredible comedy skills yet, but I have a feeling that Nanjiani will be back to crack us all up again soon. And hopefully teach the world a few more life lessons.
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