'Ask a Slave' Makes Depressingly Stupid Tourist Questions Hilarious


Actress and comedian Azie Mira Dungey used to work as a historical re-enactor at Mount Vernon. And 1- because George Washington’s old stomping grounds are staffed with people acting out roles they might have had during the George Washington days and 2- Dungey is black, she played the role of a slave named Lizzy Mae. Now, she’s made her experiences fielding actual stupid questions from actual stupid tourists into a video series that not only invites laughter, it encourages people to think a little harder about how we lionize the Founding Fathers as paragons of morality.

Some of the questions Dungey’s character responds to in the video are obtuse, others frustrating (“But what if Martha Washington NEEDS something in the middle of the night?!”), but all of them are entertaining.

On the project’s website, Dungey writes of her experiences as a fledgling actor in the DC-Virginia-Maryland area shortly after Obama was elected President.

…Emails were forwarded proclaiming that this was the beginning of a race war and the end of the country as we know it. People bought guns. (A lot of guns.) A scientist reported the evolutionary explanation as to why black women were the least attractive of all the races. The Oprah Show ended. It was mass chaos.
And in the midst of all this, I was playing a slave. Everyday, I was literally playing a slave. I mean, I was getting paid well for it, don’t get me wrong, and we all need a day job. But all the same, I was having all these experiences, and emotions. Talking to 100s of people a day about what it was like to be black in 18th Century America. And then returning to the 21st Century and reflecting on what had and had not changed.

So far, there are only two videos in the series, but they’re both worth a watch.

[Ask a Slave]

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