In his very funny and smart comedy routine, “Stop Your Racist Reflexes” Comedian Alex Velluto draws laughs when he talks about his adopted brother and the automatic reflexes which reveal racism
“I have a little 14-year-old brother. He is black. He is adopted. I hope,” Alex begins.
As a child, the younger boy occasionally misbehaved in public. Alex would need to reprimand his brother, forgetting the two were being observed by individuals who didn’t know of their relationship.
“It just looked like I was chastising a random black child,” Alex explained in his monologue. “We’d be in the grocery store and I’d be like, ‘Hey buddy you gotta pay for that. You can’t steal it.’”
Later Alex explained that when he introduces his brother to other people, they will lower their voice into a conspirator whisper and say, “Is he adopted?”
“I don’t get the whispering,” Alex quips. “You don’t think he’s had any questions by now? If he hasn’t had any questions by now there’s something else we should be whispering about. But I always play along and like, “ ‘Shhh, keep it down he hasn’t noticed’.”
Of course, Alex has taught his younger brother how to play along with the gag and say,
“Notice what?” then act surprised when he notices his own skin color.
“Yeah, whispering– that’s one way you know white people are about to be racists, a lot of clues. I know all of them. One of my favorites is when someone is talking to you, then they stop and do this thing,” Alex then looks over one shoulder and then over the other shoulder in an exaggerated effort to check his surroundings. “The over the shoulder minority check. Some of you doing it right now, just in case what I’m about to say is racist.”
The stories Alex shared are the type of experiences lots of adoptive families have dealt with. Alex puts them in perspective.
Watch the full special here on YouTube. You don’t want to miss how his friends confused Ann Frank with Oprah and how to Helen Keller everyone is black.