Counting The Cost

‘Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat’

Julianne Malveaux | 8/31/2017, midnight

While she was committed to stop selling drugs, she couldn't find work, until one of her social workers remarked that she'd make a great comedian. Why? Because things that other people find tragic are funny to me. “When my sister-in-law died in the middle of an Atlanta Falcons game, I burst into tears.” she tells me. “I don't know if I was crying because she died or because she never got to see the Falcons finish losing that game.”

Ms. Pat says she stays out of politics and “tries to stay neutral.” Still, she manages to make a few pithy, funny political comments. She likens Confederate flag wavers to Cleveland Browns fans. “They are used to losing. They are serious about their losing team.”

She won't say much about the current occupant of the White House (“look, I want to sell books”), but she does note that he has caused “regular Black folks to start reading the paper. I never used to read the New York Times, but I have to keep up with him.” And, she notes that her family Christmas cruise was cancelled, thanks to the 2016 election, “I was not getting on a boat with that fool in office.”

While Ms. Pat avoids political talk, her story can have an impact on public policy. How do young mothers support their kids, if they are too young for a work permit? How can ex-offenders support themselves, if they can't find work because of their criminal record? Why are there so many resources now available for opiate addicts, when so few were available for those who were addicted to crack cocaine?

When Ms. Pat was a kid, she said “nobody told me they loved me, so now I love everybody.” The woman has a heart of gold, having raised her sister's kids for more than 10 years, and now, with her own children (she has two sets - her 31 and 30 year old “Medicaid kids” and the 17 and 19 year old children with her current husband, her “Blue Cross kids') headed to college, she is raising the four young children of a niece who has “disappeared.”

While the situation may be tragic for the children and for the niece, it is fodder for more comedy for Ms. Pat. Some have called her “the Black Roseanne” since she has an upcoming sitcom (produced by Lee Daniels). I say just call her funny, poignant, and blunt Ms. Pat. She, like Dick Gregory, uses comedy to blunt the outrage of tragedy.

Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author, and founder of Economic Education. Her latest book “Are We Better Off: Race, Obama and Public Policy is available via amazon.com. For booking, wholesale inquiries or for more info visit www.juliannemalveaux.com.

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