So the internets are abuzz today over the (really fucking hilarious) video “Shit White Girls Say…To Black Girls. If you haven’t seen it go ahead and click on this vid (properly linked NoPerez). I’ll wait.
Hilarious, right? Well, probably not if you’re the kind of person who says those things. In that case the video probably made you a LITTLE bit uncomfortable, right? GOOD.
A lot of the comments I’ve seen from fellow black chicks tend to include some variation on “I grew up in the suburbs and this is my life”. Now, I didn’t grow up in the ‘burbs, but I went to a majority white prep school. The kind of school where “summer” is a verb and mid-winter break is just an excuse for a ski weekend. On the whole, I’d say the community (students, parents, teachers) skewed liberal. Or progressive. Maybe its a Chicago thing. Maybe its a “I’m so rich and don’t know how to be anything but rich and therefore I feel a little guilty about it” thing. Either way, I can say on the whole I never experienced much out right racial discrimination. But…there were incidents.
1. That time my parents threw a big party for my 16th birthday and only one of my school friends came. That one girl being my Puerto Rican homegirl from Pilsen.
2. The time my choir teacher decided to schedule 7:20 rehearsals because “all you guys can walk to school so just get up a little earlier”. I took a commuter train and two buses to get to school and was already leaving my house at 6:45am to get from my hood to the tony enclave that was home to my school but WHATEVS.
3. That time in 10th grade when the verdict from the OJ Simpson trial was read during my Geometry class and I got to feel AWESOME AND UNCOMFORTABLE while my white male classmates cheered (I guess because being a football hero triumphs over all) and my white female classmates cried as if they thought it was open season on white girls. I was the only black person in the room (not unusual) and really I just wanted to disappear.
4. That time my super white prep school started a gospel choir…lord have mercy. The look on my mother’s face as she watched me sing a negro spiritual surrounded by people who, lets be honest, can surely trace their histories to a plantation or 10. She’s still not over it.
I could go on. But you get the point. But guess what? None of these things scared me for life. Learning experiences? Sure. Maybe a tad uncomfy in the moment? Damn straight. But through it all, I came away with nothing but appreciation for the education I received, the experiences I had, and the friends I made. White people? In general you were cool in my book.
My point is that the kind of comments that are being lampooned in that video? I didn’t hear them back then, when youth and stupidity could have explained it away. No. College and beyond would be when I encountered the most racial stupidity. I’ve dealt with it all: white dudes who view you as a fetish, white dudes who date you but never really feel ok with it, white friends who have no other black friends except you, white friends who make racial jokes but then say “oh, but I don’t mean YOU”, etc.
Do you wash your hair? Totally been asked it. Dozens of times. Do you know *insert name of black person who went to the same massive university as you*? Oh god yeah. I’ve had the Holocaust vs. slavery showdown. I’ve tossed C4 on a relationship and lost an entire group of friends over racist jokes. Sh*t happens.
But I don’t hate white people. And neither does the young woman who made this video. Comedy has been used to shed light on difficult topics for ages now. I mean, unless you tried really hard to ignore it, you had to come away from “Chappelle’s Show” with more than “I’m Rick James, bitch!”…right? What she is trying to do isn’t all that different. Stereotypes are hurtful. No one likes to be othered. No one likes to be made to feel like they are viewed as less than based solely on skin color. So, if you’re one of those people who stood up on your “OMG OFFENDED” chair and started to yell? Do me a favor and scroll back up. And imagine how you’d feel if someone questioned your hygiene, mocked your upbringing, or petted you down like a damn puppy.
Burns a bit, don’t it?