Tonya Jameson of the Charlotte Observer recently penned an article with an interesting title: "Why Don't White People Mind Being Stereotyped?". I'm not quite sure how to react. There are all sorts of thoughts going through my head. For the record: I have no idea if the film in question is funny or not - but I do think that the Wayans brothers have had some good humor in the past. They've also had some pretty bad attempts at humor.

First and foremost, I'd have to say that the answer is that if a couple of comics, who happen to be black, feel like making fun of a particular social group of people, who happen to be white, I can live with it. It's humor. Even if they think that about my particular stereotype (whatever that may be), why is that such a bad thing? Being able to look - and laugh- at ourselves is a great gift. We could all do with skins that had a little more thickness.

The next thought has to do with the suggestion that white people have a rights organization - roughly analagous to the NAACP for blacks. I think that is a tremendously bad idea. I'm all for equality, but continuing to create more and more divisive groups can't be a good thing. That isn't to say that the NAACP or other groups haven't done good - they have. But we're all in this together, people. If we can't talk to one another and laugh at one another, it's never going to get any better. Having an organization dedicated to making issues where there shouldn't be any isn't the answer.

The final thought I have really concerns me. Ms. Jameson acts as if we should be outraged because someone is making fun of a particular subject. So what? Being able to laugh at yourself is perhaps the most useful virtue of all. If we all take ourselves so seriously that we can't even appreciate a little humor, as low-brow as it may be, then it's never going to end. We need camaraderie, and understanding, and respect - but outrage doesn't breed any of those things. Can't we just have a laugh and not be concerned about what sinister message is being sent?

Comments (13)

"...if a couple of comics, who happen to be black, feel like making fun of a particular social group of people, who happen to be white, I can live with it. It's humor."

That's absolutely fine; if you are a member of the group 'targeted' for ridicule, you decide whether or not you will get confrontational over it. (And since you don't, I can only guess your race, based on Ms. Jameson's stereotype that white's are viewed as non-confrontational.)

The bigger question is why is it that if white comics were to do PRECISELY the same thing by donning blackface makeup and getting laugh's by poking fun of a black stereotype (such as being unable to perform in school at the same level as whites or being unable to control their ogling a passing white woman), blacks feel the need to express 'outrage' at such a 'vicious case of racism' and quite possibly riot?

It's because popular culture as dictated to us via the television and the public schools states that blacks are justified at being outraged at anything THEY deem as derogatory towards their people/culture - whites are obligated to side with them and bemoan the spectre of white racism or else be viewed and shunned as a racist. (AKA "the Treatment")

Popular culture also dictates that if the shoe is on the other foot and whites are ridiculed by blacks, WELL, then 'it's all in fun' or (as you say)" Being able to look - and laugh- at ourselves is a great gift." You obviously do not see how you have personally been duped by popular culture.

Another axample:

"...the suggestion that white people have a rights organization...I think that is a tremendously bad idea."

Of course you do! As a white, this is the only correct answer you are 'permitted' to give....lest you be given "the Treatment".

Whites were put on notice during the Clinton administration that they WILL be a minority in the nation THEIR people founded in less than 50 years and there's nothing that can be done about it...or should be done about it.

As more wonderful diversity streams across our border, displaces whites and demands control of the levers of power proportional to their numbers, whites of the future may not be permitted to organize for their own interests, all in the name of 'fighting hate'.

"I'm all for equality, but continuing to create more and more divisive groups can't be a good thing."

You are directing this comment towards the wrong people! Every significant public group from your local civic group on up to the Congress of the United States has a racially-exclusive subset or 'Black Caucus". Why the need for a 'National Black Police Chief's Association' or a 'Miss Black America' if blacks can enter both organizations/contests and succeed?

If you truly believe divisive groups are bad, why don't you focus on the division currently being exhibited by black groups rather than whites? (Again, if you are white, we know the answer already.)

"But we're all in this together, people. If we can't talk to one another and laugh at one another, it's never going to get any better. Having an organization dedicated to making issues where there shouldn't be any isn't the answer... Being able to laugh at yourself is perhaps the most useful virtue of all."

(YAWN)
Here's what you're saying:

blacks laugh at blacks = O.K.
whites laugh at whites = O.K.

blacks laugh at whites = O.K.
whites laugh at blacks = "Give 'em "the Treatment"!

(Any hypocrisy here?)

"and quite possibly riot". Oops, tipped your hand there.

I think it's simple, at least to those of us who are neither black nor white. Black folks can give up the right to make fun of white people when african americans of equal economic standing have an equal rate of approval for home loans.

There's approximately one word in the english language that black americans are "allowed" to say that's considered offensive if a white person says it, and somehow, despite radical income disparity, a dramatically different realm of opportunity in careers, significantly lower educational funding, and all the other shortcomings facing black america, white people just have to be bitter they can't say that one word.

How 'bout a trade? White people can legally be considered property for 400 years, and then after that, they can make whatever jokes they want. Seems fair to me.

Gardner, you make some interesting points. And while it's certainly possible that I've been duped into my thinking, I naturally don't feel that way. I think it only fair that a white group be allowed to have a racial defendent, such as the NAACP for blacks, but I think it's a collosally bad idea for everyone to go their own separate way on this. That's obviously not worked for a lot of years now. Perhaps we should try something else.

Anil, I don't have any particular desire to say that word or any other - at least not enough to voluntarily be considered property for a few hundred years.

I can never say that I understand such things, but I can perhaps grasp them in their barest forms. That doesn't qualify me to speak to certain areas, and that's fine. But neither does it necessarily qualify other races to speak to those areas. My neighbor is no more a slave to another than I am, yet his anger is justified because his ancestors were (slaves). My anger isn't justified because mine were not - they were perhaps even owners of slaves. But just as he is not a slave, I am not an owner of slaves.

In The Purpose Driven Life, the author talks about how we need to share our burdens with one another. Why is it such a big secret, and why can't we talk with one another? Everyone knows that slavery existed. Many people seem to still hold a personal grudge. Why not talk about it, instead of simply continuing to hold that grudge and creating more and more splinter groups that server not to unite us, but to divide?

""and quite possibly riot". Oops, tipped your hand there."

If pointing out historical accuracies such as the riots in Watts, Los Angeles and, most recently Cincinnati constitutes 'tipping my hand', I've no problem with that.

"Black folks can give up the right to make fun of white people when african americans of equal economic standing have an equal rate of approval for home loans."

Do you really believe that in this age of hypersensitivity towards black alienation in society that the federal banking system would DARE to routinely deny loan applications based on an applicant's race? Or perhaps that the applicant didn't have sufficient work or credit histories? Regardless, how does either case give blacks some immunity towards belittling people of other races?

"There's approximately one word in the english language that black americans are "allowed" to say that's considered offensive if a white person says it, and somehow, despite radical income disparity, a dramatically different realm of opportunity in careers, significantly lower educational funding, and all the other shortcomings facing black america, white people just have to be bitter they can't say that one word."

Again, you are grasping for straws in making the claim that bad breaks in life can somehow 'justify' hostilities towards other people around you, particularly whites and Koreans. This tactic has been used to harangue whites into silence since the 60's.

If people such as Alonzo Herndon, Philip Payton, Bob Johnson and countless others can focus themselves and create lives FAR envious to those of most whites, then your allusion towards external factors begins to slip. You are, in essense, 'tipping your hand' that at least in your mind there are NO boundaries for blacks with regards to jokes and stereotypes about whites. Doesn't sound very fair to me if tolerance and peace are desireable traits in an increasingly multi-ethnic America.

"How 'bout a trade? White people can legally be considered property for 400 years, and then after that, they can make whatever jokes they want. Seems fair to me."

Ridiculous!
How can something that ended almost 140 years ago apply in a nation that routinely accepts people from parts of the world with far less than the average black family has (but with a mindset focused on personal success rather than blame for their own inadequacies) and, in due time, see those persons live the American dream?

"I think it only fair that a white group be allowed to have a racial defendent, such as the NAACP for blacks, but I think it's a collosally bad idea for everyone to go their own separate way on this. That's obviously not worked for a lot of years now. Perhaps we should try something else."

I was in school in the late 60's - 70's and I remember the "Brotherhood" programs we performed in the auditorium for our parents in elementary school and I remember truly believing that we were all the same beneath our skin. But something happened around age 13 with all the black kids - for some strange reason, I wasn't included in certain groups anymore and black kids who used to laugh and talk to me a few years earlier became increasingly distant. I wasn't sure what was going on but I will never forget the day on the school bus when the kids were just throwing around a Nerf football when this scowling black kid shouted "Don't you hit no black people with that!", and the bus fell silent. And ever since, I've noticed that blacks segregate themselves from whites in most social activities in spite of attempts by whites to reach out.

I won't worry too much about trying something else until I see a genuine attempt on the part of blacks as a whole to reach back to whites instead of slapping down the extended hand of my people and insulting us with 'humor'.

"I can never say that I understand such things, but I can perhaps grasp them in their barest forms. That doesn't qualify me to speak to certain areas, and that's fine. But neither does it necessarily qualify other races to speak to those areas."

You're obviously a benevolent soul and I commend you on trying to think things through before reaching a position; cool heads are made of this!

Unfortunately the very people who perpetuate the social double standard (of 'it's ok for us to say this/ act this way because of... , just don't YOU do it') are the same one's who neglect to qualify themselves before they speak or react about a certain issue.

I suspect the 'barest form' to which you refer is racialism; a term I use to refer to an affinity for one's own racial group (as opposed to racism, which obviously means contempt for other racial groups.) This is pure conjecture on my part but I believe the racialism (and racism) we will continue to see as society grows more complex is, in very simple terms, an extension of family. For example, I love my children more than the world and in the event of a catastrophe, my first instinct is to concern myself with the safety of my children before I focus on the children of my neighbors. My actions don't constitute 'hatred' of my neighbor's children but since I am more closely related genetically to my offspring I am exhibiting a basic instinctual need to preserve my progeny.

Similarly, blacks see themselves as an extension of family - not at all objectionable - and seek to preserve themselves accordingly. Moreover, Hispanics and Asians are creating racially-exclusive groups of their own, but for some unknown reason whites are given 'the Treatment' if they so much as bring up this double standard.

In a utopian world view, there would be no need for any of this; in fact, it would seem downright silly but history sadly records that those who are not racially-conscious are quickly assimilated by those that are.

"My neighbor is no more a slave to another than I am, yet his anger is justified because his ancestors were (slaves). My anger isn't justified because mine were not - they were perhaps even owners of slaves. But just as he is not a slave, I am not an owner of slaves."

What anger is justified? Your neighbor cannot use the slave issue 140 years after its end!

It would be easy to silence his grumblings of slavery by asking him where he would be without it. I'm sure he has some idea of the pestilence that has plagued the African continent long before the white man stepped foot on it and if not it's indictive of his ignorance, not yours.

If it's slavery that's weighing so heavy on his heart, ask him if he's urged his local AME Zion church to join with the white Lutheran church in buying freedom for Sudanese slaves. (I know, I know, when the happy-hearted Lutherans board the plane back to the U.S., the slaves are recaptured again but it's the thought that counts!)

"In The Purpose Driven Life, the author talks about how we need to share our burdens with one another. Why is it such a big secret, and why can't we talk with one another?"

An excellent book and in chapter 20 you will see the points Pastor Warren makes are usually a one-way street when it comes to racial reconciliation. Points like 'Take the initiative', 'Sympathize with their feelings', 'Confess your part of the conflict', 'Cooperate as much as possible'...to me, this sound more like the actions of most whites I have observed in society; always putting the emotions and needs of blacks first in the hopeful belief that they will be absolved of the 'slave' issue and be seen as a "GOOD" white. It works temporarily but makes for hilarious stereotypes on Def Comedy Jam.

God bless you for wanting to continue with a peaceful co-existence with blacks at the expense of any pride you may have left in your people. Personally, I believe that whites should organize in a positive way regardless of the name-calling and other forms of character assassination that most definitely will result.

When you think about it, blacks, women and Gays have moved from the fringes of society to mainstream acceptance not by begging 'permission' to be accepted but by being loud and projecting an 'in-your-face' chutzpah that they WILL be accepted.

Whites should take detailed notes.

"Everyone knows that slavery existed. Many people seem to still hold a personal grudge. Why not talk about it, instead of simply continuing to hold that grudge and creating more and more splinter groups that server not to unite us, but to divide?"

Because it WORKS!
They know that if they furrow their brow and strike a defiant posture, whites will fall all over themselves trying to prove that they are the exception to the 'racist white' rule. You KNOW this! Experience tells them that whites will accommodate them if they talk and act aggressively enough... but what eventually happens to acCOMMODEators?

(You guessed it! 3···[:^(

Why are whites almost pathological in their need to be seen as non-racial? Blacks aren't that way - neither are Hispanics and Asians. Only whites.

Probably because they fancy themselves as morally superior to other whites if they show how non-racial they are.

Arik, I almost didn't publish your comment, but I decided to do so because I think that it raises a good point. But the point you make is that you have entirely missed the point here.

The point I'm making (trying to make) isn't that I want to express my racial (or non-racial) leanings, or feel morally superior to anyone. If anything, it's to answer a question where I don't know the answer. I suspect no one does.

I want to know why we have more and more divisive groups and less and less unity.

I can only guess that your race is non-white, but you know, it doesn't matter. If your ancestors were slaves, and my ancestors were slave owners, it doesn't matter. The same can be said about any other racial tragedy, and isn't meant to be specific to slavery.

This is not to say that the event itself doesn't matter, as obviously it does. Those events changed the world. But it does mean that it's absolutely irrelevant to this conversation, because it didn't happen to us.

Now, I'm sorry that that those events happened, but they didn't happen to you. I didn't make them happen. In fact, had those things never happened, we wouldn't be here now.

A phrase that is perhaps all too common - so much so that it is overlooked - is that I can't change my past. What should be an obvous extension of this is that I can't change your past. We can only change the future.

Just as a lawsuit can be brought against someone for what is perceived as a wrongful death, what exactly would you hope to gain from contuing to bring up events that happened hundreds of years ago? They have no relevance at all on my place to speak (or yours, for that matter).

What is important is that we can change the future. But we can't do it while mired in the past, and we can't do it (with any success) if we're all concentrating on forming our little pockets of "culture". We can only do it if we work together.

Racism is not specifically for non-whites! In our country, oppression of white people and white pride is everywhere! The oppression of the white race in America is currently more widespread and obvious than any other race! But people do not and can't properly question the moral fiber of the country because they will immediately be called a racist. Take affirmative action for instance. What exactly is affirmative action? It sounds good; it makes everyone "equal" right? Wrong! I'll tell you what affirmative action does. Affirmative action suppresses everyone, not just one race. It does much more good then bad; it promotes anger and more discrimination, which is the very thing it is trying to prevent! Think about it; if anybody is hired over somebody with better qualifications simply because they are a different race, it is discrimination.

Have you ever heard the saying "2 wrongs do not make a right"? Well it is true. Affirmative action cannot be justified because other races were discriminated against in the past. Imagine this, it's the Olympics, and a White American loses to a Mexican in soccer. But, the White American wins, because extra points are given to make them "equal" for the justification that Mexicans are, on average, better at soccer. People would be furious! Racism would be cried out on all corners of the world! So then, why is it "fair" and "equal" for any race that is not white to get extra consideration towards their goal, whether it be school, promotion, career, or anything else. In all honesty, affirmative action should be insulting to non-white races, because it is suggesting that to reach their goal, they need help. It says they can't do it on their own, so they need extras to get through life. Is this true? Maybe it is, who can say? But if it is, we cannot allow ourselves to boost others through life, it decreases the standards, and in the future is going to severely hurt America as a whole. What we should do is allow all races the same opportunities. That is true equality. People should be judged based on their qualifications, not the color of their skin, or stereotypes associated with them.

Speaking of stereotypes, white people are racist, cannot dance, boring, ugly, egotistical, and undesirable. These are a few of the many stereotypes that belong to the white race. Now, I am not saying that no other race has stereotypes, but what I have noticed is that these stereotypes are never questioned. Whites are considered being "weird" if they are offended by these common stereotypes, while all others races' are broadly disputed over. Another way whites are suppressed in this country is limitation of pride. Whites need a place to go where they can discuss their thoughts on discrimination against them without the amazing force of anti-white thought impeding them. They need to inforce their culture and knowledge of their race to keep them proud of their background, not ashamed. Unfortunately, if I were to try to start a white club at Lane Tech High School, I would be called horrible names. There could be protest marches if word got out. I could be sent for head evaluation by some shrink who thinks they know me better then myself. I could be suspended or the victim of some other "disciplinary action". I would also most likely be the victim of a "jumping", the new cool word that means abusing someone and defeating them by the use of outnumbering and unfair fighting.

And this is not at Lane alone, any school where a white pride or white student union club were to try to start would have the same situation. But why? There exist numerous clubs for many ethnicitys, all around the world. Somewhere around 30 at Lane. To name a few there are: A.B.C. (Puerto Rico), Aztlan (Mexico), the Black Student Union, Cambodian, Chinese, Colombian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and many others. So why are whites not allowed to be proud? Is this really fair? How does this obvious discrimination fit in so easily in our basic accepted "system"!? I urge any white person who goes to school and reads this to try to start a white club at their school. Just try, see the results, and you will understand how discriminatory our "system" is.

There are many more anti-white influences in the world, but the purpose of my writing this is to inform, and hopefully open up some minds to the obvious discrimination of the unnoticed race around us. Not to write on and on until your head spins trying to sound smart. Take my thoughts from where I leave off, and look yourself for accepted discrimination, you will find it everywhere. Whites need to make themselves known, and make their views known. Or the consequences could be terrible. I know as well as everyone else that life isn't fair, but the purpose of our "system" is to minimize that unfairness, not to expand it. Is it really doing it's job?

Everyone here is talking about slavery. True indeed slavery is over, and its essence still echoes in the air, but i dont think 'slavery' is what people are mad about. I dont think about slavery when i get pulled over or when im followed in the mall. I dont think about slavery when white guys clutch their white girls closer to them and try to intimidate me or scare me off. Thats funny, by the way.
Also:
White people do have a group similar to the NAACP. Its called The United States Government.

Now that's funny, James. I have about as much input into the US Government as I do the NAACP.

Do you think i have any input into the NAACP?

"Also:
White people do have a group similar to the NAACP. Its called The United States Government."

REALLY?

The NAACP's stated purpose is the 'advancement of COLORED people' - whitey need not apply.

Do you seriously contend that the U.S. gov't has a purpose, stated or otherwise, of advancing the exclusive interests of White people?

Please prove your point.

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