You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey is a serious book about racism in America. It relates stories of racist behavior, which are presented as “funny.” But they aren’t funny. They are painful. If you like to see other people insulted, humiliated, threatened, terrorized, belittled, and deprived of opportunities then I feel sorry for you. And maybe you’ll find this book funny. I can’t find it funny. It hurts me to read it. And I believe that every word is true.
I respect the authors for their effort to clarify racism, while trying to lead sane lives in the face of such evil. I respect their way of laughing at adversity. They can’t even experience laughter through tears (see the quote below for why no tears). Here are some serious quotes from the book:
“I never tell white people that story because they can’t frigging stand hearing it. Honestly, they look like they’re in pain as they’re listening to me tell it and are annoyed that they have to carry this information around with them. I have never been able to understand why white people have such a low tolerance for hearing about racism. I mean, we have to live it! The least you could do is nod your head. The previous and the following are just two of the many reasons why Black people don’t want to talk about race with you.” (p. 124)
“A quick note about white tears: Why? Why do they work so well? It’s truly a great defense against being called a racist. I mean, it doesn’t work for Black people. Can you imagine if Black people cried every time we were called a name? Every time we were accused of something we didn’t do? Tell you what, I would be carrying around tissues at all times (not just when I go see musicals). I think, when a white person accused of racism cries, people think, Oh no. I need to fix this. White people shouldn’t cry. They should never have to cry! I think when white people see white people cry, they relate and feel sorry for them. And when white people see Black people cry, they can’t relate. Even though Black people have a billion things to cry about. Maybe it just boils down to the fact that white vulnerability is valuable and Black vulnerability puts the Black person in danger.” (p. 148)
“...this is real life and it does not stop. These stories only reaffirm where we are. They don’t shine a light on anything new.” (p. 202)