Advice King: How Do I Avoid Succumbing to Cynicism?

Comedian, musician, host of Chris Crofton's Advice King Podcast and former Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Facebook and Twitter, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.

Dear Advice King,

I’ve been in such great spirits these past few days. How do I keep the good mood going for as long as possible, without succumbing to the usual fear and cynicism?

Thanks for your help!

—Nicole in Lansing, Mich.

Did you happen to catch Dave Chappelle’s Saturday Night Live monologue? It’s not important that you watch the whole thing — it’s the last two minutes that are amazing.

The point that Chappelle made in those last two minutes was SO IMPORTANT, and so insightful. He said, essentially, that white people need to stop acting aggrieved, and start acting grateful. He argued that Black people are better at finding joy in life than white people, even when their lives have been made extremely difficult — ON PURPOSE, BY WHITE PEOPLE!

Black people were brought to America against their will. They were enslaved for hundreds of years. They were terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan. They were lynched. They endured Jim Crow. They were redlined. Their leaders were assassinated. Redlining was a policy instituted by the Federal Housing Authority that denied federally insured mortgage loans to people in “redlined” areas. The areas were actually outlined in red ink. These areas were mostly “inner city” African American neighborhoods.

White people owned Black slaves. White people were the Ku Klux Klan. White people lynched. White people enacted Jim Crow. White people set up the redlining. White people (mostly) did the assassinating. 

White racists love to speculate as to why “Black people aren’t doing better.” They arrogantly muse about the “absence of Black fathers.” Redlining was a FEDERAL POLICY. Black people were denied upward economic mobility on purpose. 

In America, white people have relentlessly and systematically oppressed Black people, yet it’s white Americans who are always threatening to “move to Canada” whenever something doesn’t go their way. And it’s white people who GO BERSERK when they are asked to do something as simple as putting on a mask during a pandemic.

Cheer up! Nothing is guaranteed. Not only is nothing guaranteed, but sometimes things are denied to you on purpose! The world is not fair, and then you die. There is a reason life has been described as a “vale of tears” and not a “five-car garage.” Good spirits are best achieved through a shift in perspective.

Heed the words of Dave Chappelle! Lower your expectations, and heighten your forgiveness.

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