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You must be familiar with this book ... http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Laughing-Barrel-Interpretation-Afro-American/dp/0878054782#reader_0878054782 Although the 8 instances of "laughing barrel" in the text seem to make this story a myth of folk lore, I think you would benefit from the discussion of "The American Negro" and "Negro Folklore" as largely superlative terms and like almost every word in the English language; in need of deconstruction or etymological contextualization. I wonder if a laughing barrel was not a factual object, if instead the harm that would result from laughter could or was serious no matter what. Found item below at; http://homeboyreportsii.blogspot.com/2008/01/laughing-barrel.html Maya Angelou is a tall, elegant black lady with a commanding presence. Anyway, she had given a lecture (which is what I had been reading online), and in the Q&A session afterward she made a remarkable comment I'd never heard before. She said, "You know, in slavery times the slaves were not allowed to laugh in many plantations." She elaborated and told how in some such plantations, when the urge to laugh became irrepressible, the slaves had a "laughing barrel" into which they would lean way down, in the pretext of getting something, and laugh and laugh and laugh, and then go back to whatever it was they were doing. SOUTHERN LAUGHTER Khalid Muhammad 'muses' over the 'negro' being forced to laugh in a barrel during his speech at Howard University or King College. I will send a link from the YOUTUBE website if you cannot locate indiependently. This presumably Jim Crow unwritten code was supposedly inacted in the South to avoid the implied potential of insult to White people who may be in the presence of Black folk; Black folk in this case are insinuated to be possibly 'snickering' at White people in a passive agressive manner of childish display (in the view of White people). Such behavior by Black folk and particularly Black males extends upon other anti-expressive codes enacted to curb the "Negro's" alleaged infiltration of White spacial freedom and/or ability to traverse public areas shared by "nigras, blacks, niggers, and coloreds." Such spacial violations would have included the reckless eyeballin' that Khalid Muhammad mentions in the context of Emmit Till, or as Khalid mentions, the idea that Black folks (men, women, or children) had to get off the sidewalk or cross the street to allow White pedestrains safe passage. However, Hunt.Kara; Humor and Laughter are far more serious topics than they seem on the surface and the Southern regulation of such emotive behaviors is fraught with contradictory ascriptions. On one hand the "black" is depicted as baffoon in the collective White imagination through many tropes and yet the spector of potential satire is felt both consciously and unconsciously by even the most unlearn White or Black audience. Further, in the face of the seriousness of laughter and humor as discursive devise, attitude, or feeling has been problemitized by the early malfeasance of psychology as a science based largely on racialized principles that corrupted the discipline beyond the 1st half of the last century. While race and racism still infect the way this basic emotion--funny, laughter, pleasure, humorous,etc.--is conceptualized in the 21st century, psychology has made some strides towrd assumming its proper place as the foundation of scientific inquiry and all the remaining displines that have been formalized in the history of science. The racialized infection does not limit itself to White people and very much does strangle how well-intended Black people conceptualize or construct acceptable verses non-acceptable humor. Laughter like feces has a tendency to roll downhill or be deployed against the weak and in honor of the strong. Indeed "fun, pleasing, laughter and humor" is easily deployed toward deceptive ends and devious outcomes. I might add that some comments in this foum use disguised humor in derision by logic albiet employing falacious reasoning. If you ntice I have carefully deployed a very common insult to all black people that is used in mainstream television every day and goes un-noticed except in rare cases such as when Donald Trump stated he was on good terms with "the blacks" which is a throwback to chattle slave characterizations of our people as animals like roans, bays, chestnuts, pintos, palaminos, grays, and of course blacks-- which by the way was often enough given the distinction of being referred to a "Black Stallion" in hgiher appreciation for a horse than accorded "the black" or "blacks" when discussing our folk. How funny it must have been for White people to stand idly by during the Atlanta Murders and hear daily of more "blacks" found murdered in reference to innocent Black children. Fortunately I called CNN and stopped the practice but it has seeped its insidious way back into usage. I guess I've responded in some depth because now that psychology has somewhat corrected it place in the heiarchy of disciplines and much previous or early literature assumed to be science of the human is being corrected and revised, the entire field of knowledge and intellectual production reamins captive to conceptual confinement most often undetected by the practitioner, lay person, and experts alike. This is not as absurd a statement as it sounds, even when most Black Scholarship is implicated in the morass, particularly if one accepts that the traditions of infected science, medicine, philosophy, and communication dates back to expressed intent before the common era (BCE). Finally, I've spent the last year of my life in excited and anxious research of the new and emerging but spectacularly important sub-field of psychology, history, neural science, and other formal discipline--The History of Emotions. My interest was initially focused on the emerging power of negative "Sentiment" or "Resentment" and the French or more common term, "ressentiment" that captures a deeper emotional quality that governments recognize as potential ruptures and catalysts for popular upheaval such as across the Middle East (AFRICA) in Libya and Egypt. Western scholarship is already polluting the discipline of Emotions (Emotionology) with its brand of conceptual imperialism. Consequently, epistemic blind spots or created in the normalized premises that remain as guides for what is relagated to psuedo-scientific investigation. Indeed to use a joke parlayed by African American republican presidential candidate "Godfather Pizza", when we talk of science as we know it... "How has that worked for ya?" I look forward to sharing numerous articles on your topic but wanted to make sure first that we will not be repeating the Randle Kennedy sham on this important topic that he performed in the most fundamental term in Afro American History in his "Nigger: The Career of a Troublesome Word"--perhaps the biggest joke ever played on Descendents of Slavery and Slaves. I am familiar with literally dozens of specialized data-bases dedicated to the Study of Emotions and respect well the need to bring Southern Humor into the light of real scientific dialogue; It is truly a promising endeavor!