When I wrote this post “Stuff White People Like”, I had planned to do one about Black people too. Well that time has come so here it is. These are the 10 things that first came to mind, which are based on my observations and experiences. They are in no particular order of relevance or importance.
1. A White Jesus
You ever go into a Black persons home and the first thing that meets your eye as you enter is a picture of a white hippie looking, blond hair and blue eyed Jesus!? The one that really get’s me is the picture with the “sacred heart” on the outside of his chest. In previous times, I would ask the host (usually a family member): “who is the white hippie dude in the photo? Is he family!?” They would look at the photo and I could tell that the wheels in their mind would start to turn… then they would look at me long and hard, like they couldn’t believe I wasn’t struck dead (and probably silently praying that I would be), then and there by lightening! If you close your eyes and think about Jesus and the above image comes to mind, then read this and you may also want to read this book.
2. Barack Obama
On the flip side of worshipping a white Jesus, Black folks all over the world worship Barack Obama as the “Black Messiah”. I swear that when they see him, ole negro spirituals starts playing in their heads! He can do no wrong in their eyes. He is Moses and Jesus all rolled up into one, sent by the Almighty to bring them into the new heaven and the new earth. The post-racial promise land that is America.
3. Hating on Tavis Smiley
Ever since Tavis Smiley called on then presidential candidate Barack Obama to be accountable to the Black American electorate, he has caught hell from that community (see here). I recently read a post where the author referred to Tavis as a “self promoting race hustler”. “A self promoting race hustler!?” Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson… maybe. Tim Wise and Soledad O’Brien… for sure. But Tavis!? I guess if you criticize or question the Black Messiah and don’t get struck by lightening, then the true believers are obligated to demonize you.
I like this definition of Swagga from the urban dictionary: “one’s own unique style or personality that sets them apart from anyone else.” There is no doubt that we are the leaders and trendsetters… worldwide… when it comes to the originality and uniqueness of style. From the Caribbean to Africa… from the Americas to Europe… whether it’s in popular culture, fashion, urban wear, hair styles, art, music, dance, slang, etc., we set the bar. Individually and collectively, we get our “swagga on” like no others!
5. Saying “hello” to other Black people
I have been blessed to travel to many parts of the world and the one of the things I find that really defines us, is our acknowledgment of each other. Whether it’s a lift of the brow, a nod, a smile, a wave, or a simple hello, we will greet each other, especially when we are in an environment where there aren’t that many of us (if you know what I mean). Granted not all of us are like this and some of us are even down right nasty and disrespectful when it comes to dealing with another Black person. However overall, I find that overwhelmingly there are many more good experiences with this than bad… and I hope we never lose that quality with each other. It brings a certain level of community and reassurance.
One of the blogs I occasionally like to visit is Stuff White People Like. This site by Christian Lander is very funny and I appreciate his self-deprecating humor. It became an internet hit and has led to a book and t-shirts.
It got me thinking what I have observed through my own experiences about what White people like. Here is a list of 10 things I put together, in no particular order of relevance.
1. To put Black people in their “place”
Every so often, White people like to remind us… sometimes subtly, sometimes not… that we are not the same as them, regardless of whatever constitutional rights, legal rights, civil rights, human rights, voting rights, etc., we may have attained over the years. Whether it’s your close “White” friend, or co-worker who tells you “that” joke… you know the one that is based on some derogatory stereotype or your skin color, or it’s the references to lynching via nooses, or the blatant use of the word “nigger” by celebrities, the message is clear: “we’re not equals and furthermore your life is worth less than mine”.
2. To minimize the accomplishments of Black people
This one follows closely on the heels of #1. I am sure we can all tell a personal experience where we have accomplished something, or stayed late a number of nights working hard on a project… whether at work or school… and our efforts were downplayed or minimized. While we knew in our “heart of hearts”, that if a White person had done the same thing, it would have been acknowledged and recognized. I have seen it in relation to the Williams sisters and even Tiger Woods! In the words of the late Rodney Dangerfield: “I get no respect!”
3. To compare their own personal struggles and/or movements with those of Black people
If you have been visiting here for a while, you know this is my pet peeve! Whether it’s the White women’s movement, the White homosexual movement, the White peoples’ animal rights movement, etc., they all like to claim that whatever their issue is, it’s just like (or even worse!) than the discrimination and prejudice that Black people went through (cause we ain’t going through it no’mo, especially since there is now a Black POTUS). The “(insert issue here) is the new Black” mantras have become the new age slogans for the White yuppie socialists and guilty liberal types.
4. To make a living and/or become famous by claiming to be some kind of anti-racist expert
We have all been forced to attend the company sponsored diversity workshops or anti-racism seminars, which can last from a half-day to 3 days. The facilitator is almost always a White woman and at the end of the workshop there is usually a luncheon featuring “ethnic foods” for all to experience. During the seminar, we end up feeling uncomfortable and go home pissed because we have just wasted a day (or 3), listening to the same ole recycled rhetoric and bullsh*t, all the while rolling our eyes knowing that nothing will change. During the seminar, White people end up being defensive, but go home feeling good about themselves because they were able to vent about what they perceive as “reverse racism” in regards to the supposed “special privileges” colored folks are now getting.
Then there are the Tim Wise types, who claim to be experts on the evils of “White Privilege” and then hustle this into making a comfortable living on the lecture circuit, as well as selling their books, cds and dvds. You can certainly get a more honest and therefore credible analysis on issues relating to “White Privilege” and “Eurocentric Superiority” by reading blogs such as Brotherpeacemaker, The Black Sentinel , The Field Negro, as well as this one (to name a few)… and its all for free!
5. To get into romantic relationships with people of color (POC) as an act of rebellion (usually against their Father) or to feel better about themselves
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are genuine inter-racial relationships that are based on love and respect. However, I have experienced and know of many of these relationships where it’s clear (to me at least), that the White person is in the relationship with the POC because they have some deep seated issues with authority, or an authority figure… usually their Father… and this is their way of rebelling against him or society in general.
Let’s not forget to mention those White people who have some sort of an inferiority complex and get into these relationships to feel better about themselves… even a sense of superiority and entitlement in regards to their POC mate.