Richard Claxton Gregory (October 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017) was an African-American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his "no-holds-barred" sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism. He performed primarily to black audiences at segregated clubs until 1961, when he became the first black comedian to successfully cross over to white audiences, appearing on television and putting out comedy record albums.Gregory was at the forefront of political activism in the 1960s, when he protested the Vietnam War and racial injustice. He was arrested multiple times and went on many hunger strikes. He later became a speaker and author, primarily promoting spirituality.Gregory died of heart failure at a Washington, D.C., hospital at age 84 in August 2017.
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I think it's helpful to remind white ethnics that they, too, came here in boats; that they, too, lived in slums; that they, too, had yellow fever; that they, too, were stigmatized as incorrigible; that they, too, had the highest homicide rates and the highest incarceration rates and the highest rates of mental illness; and that everything that was said about them in those days is now being said about Salvadorans, Dominicans, African Americans, Mexicans, Vietnamese, and Cambodians in our inner cities.
I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was meant to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.