OMAHA, Neb. — New York Times bestseller "You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism" is full of stories that Emmy-nominated comedy writer Amber Ruffin and her sister Lacey Lamar experienced while growing up in Omaha. Their anecdotes are funny and also learning experiences for some.
"I am walking down the aisle and my head snatches back to the point where I am falling to the floor. It is an older Caucasian woman, she says, 'I have never seen anything so fluffy, it's so fluffy.' She had gotten her hands entangled in my hair. I had to give her a lesson that we don't do that, it's not a thing," said Lamar.
On Friday, people waited in line at STATUS, a luxury handbag store in Aksarben Village, to meet the authors and receive autographed copies of the book.
"We just look on the light side of things, and we laugh and laugh. And you have to admit the stories are funny. Some not so much, but we can find the humor in anything," said Lamar. "Telling the stories takes the wall down when you are talking to people that may not even think that racism exists."
Along with giving people a good laugh, they feel they are making a difference in opening up conversations about racism.
Lamar added, "Instead of, 'Hey, I have this racist story,' where they will immediately put up a wall — if you say, 'Hey, listen to what happened to me today,' and you start telling the story, they can receive it better. You can let them know racism still exists because a lot of people out there — before even reading this book — contacted me and said, 'I didn't even know this had happened.' When you add humor to things, it makes it go down a bit easier."
Ruffin said writing the book was great fun and it was easy to share embarrassing stories about her sister.
"It's very funny when it is happening to your sister...okay, I am kidding, but really I am not, but okay a little," she said.
A few stories in the book stick out said Ruffin.
"She paid for something with her Black history checks and the cashier said, 'I didn't know you could get your picture on your checks.' It was a picture of former activist, Harriet Tubman," she said.
While they say they love being able to laugh about their experiences, if they can also bring about change, that is an even greater reward.
"A lot of the people saying racist things don't even know what they are doing or saying. So maybe this book will help some people out," added Ruffin.
"People learn from it. The best gift ever is when someone says, 'I read your book and oh my goodness, I do that.' They are like, 'I won't do that anymore, I am going to look at myself when I am around people of color at work, and I am going to change'" said Lamar.
Their stories are about what they call "modern-day racism."
"White people are reading this book and saying, 'Oh, I didn't know I wasn't supposed to do that, thank you dragging me into 2021,'" said Ruffin.
They say the book is written for everyone and you should just feel however it makes you feel.
"I can't imagine if you weren't able to laugh a lot of this off, you would have a really sad life," said Ruffin.
Ruffin and Lamar said there are a lot more stories to tell and a second book is in the works.