Jewish Journal

Tracy Morgan and Attention-Getting Behavior

by Michelle K. Wolf

June 30, 2011 | 12:47 am

As a parent of a child with special needs, we have been warned by many behavioral experts about not giving into “attention getting behavior
such as when Danny takes off his seat belt in the car or purposely spills an ice-cold drink at the table. The typical parental reaction, of course, is to yell and make a big deal (which I stand guilty as charged), but it turns out that getting visibly upset actually reinforces the bad behavior. Instead, we are counseled to re-direct that need for attention to positive behavior, and to minimize the attention given to the undesirable behavior.

Tracy Morgan must be one dude in need of a lot of attention. Thanks to my friend Ellen over at Love That Max, I caught up with the comedian’s latest “not dos” as we call screw ups around our house. First, he mouthed off some nasty anti-gay remarks in Nashville including the remark that if his son were gay, he would “pull out a knife and stab” him. He apologized twice for that hateful comment, and teamed up with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for meetings in New York and Nashville. Then he turned around in New York City and during a stand-up routine at Caroline’s Comedy Club on Saturday night, June 25th, he made fun at people with disabilities, and their moms. “Don’t ever mess with women who have retarded kids,” he said. “Them young retarded males is strong. They’re strong like chimps.” Previous news articles about Tracy Morgan have mentioned the fact that he has an older brother with cerebral palsy and much of his attraction to comedy developed from that experience.

As they quote on BlackAmericaweb:

“In his book, “I Am The New Black,” Morgan is more serious than funny, sharing his poverty-stricken childhood growing up in the Brooklyn projects. He says he developed much of his comic skills from childhood. One of the things he says is that when bullies tried to pick on him, he couldn’t summon his older brother because of his disability (his brother has cerebral palsy), so he learned to be funny.”

Whatever the rationale for his latest rant, it’s clear that Tracy needs to start engaging in some positive behavior that will bring hm the attention he apparently craves. And by the way, Tracy Morgan is absolutely right about one thing—us moms of kids with special needs are super strong. We have to be.


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