Tuesday, January 30, 2007

They Don't Call Em' Stereotypes for Nothin'
















A story out of Clemson, South Carolina from The State: Clemson University President James Barker on Tuesday decried a party where white students mocked black stereotypes by drinking malt liquor and at least one student dressed in black face.

"I was appalled, angered and disappointed when I learned that a group of Clemson students participated in activities at an off-campus party that appeared to mock and disparage African Americans," Barker said. "Many people have been offended and deeply hurt."


***

Well, it does suck that people were offended by a stupid joke. I can see both sides of the fence here: on the one hand you have a group of kids who thought it would be funny to act out the stupid stereotypes they see on TV. Gold teeth, 40s, baggy jeans and 'fros can be funny on certain people -- white people. That the kids picked Martin Luther King Day for their party is in poor taste, but I don't see racism here.

I'll explain...

I can also see why black students and community leaders would be offended by this, too. As one guest on Paula Zahn tonight said, "humor is meant to be shared, these kids had their party off campus and didn't invite any black people." The logic here of course being that if you can't make fun of someone to their face you can't do it at all. And I support that -- if you call me David the Fag to my face I'll laugh; call me David the Fag behind my back and it's a whole other story.

Nowhere is the racial divide more palpable than in our nation's colleges and universities. Even at progressive, multi-cultural Boston University, my alma mater, I would often find myself being the only person of color in my classes. It didn't matter much to me, but I was definitely aware of the fact that I was in a minority. I can only imagine how these perceived differences can turn into dangerous schisms in the south.

But on the other hand, stereotypes wouldn't be funny if they weren't true. Just check out my new fav video by Lil Scrappy, Rock Yo' Hips, set appropriately in a lush college campus. These white kids got the inspiration for their costumes somewhere, and this video is a good place to start.

No one is really wrong here, just grossly insensitive and misinformed. Now, the white kids are going to have to go through the Michael Richards sensitivity program sponsored by the NAACP, but maybe it's time for the Hip Hop community to look at the message its broadcasting about black America.

11 comments:

ThatGayConservative said...

Well, it does suck that people were offended by a stupid joke.

No. What sucks is that they gave the kids the power to offend them. People are hypersensitive and many just can't wait to be offended.

It didn't matter much to me, but I was definitely aware of the fact that I was in a minority.

Ummmmm....so it did matter much to you.

I can only imagine how these perceived differences can turn into dangerous schisms in the south.

One stereotype deserves another, eh?

Of course we ALL know there are no racist, sexist, bigot homophobes up north.

ThatGayConservative said...

And ask yourself this:

Would they have been offended if the students were making fun of Clarence Thomas, Dr. Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Condi Rice etc.?

I'd be willing to bet that they probably wouldn't.

Gene said...

"...Would they have been offended if .."

Did I miss a beat here? Aren't the offended ones..." black students and community leaders..."?

Isn't the stereotype the offense rather than the person's political views? Regardless of the identity of the person being lampooned, it would seem logical that the use of a stereotype would be the offense, and "they" would be offended.

Aside from that, "...What sucks is that they gave the kids the power to offend them..." is an excellent point.


Interesting subject for the post.

James Henry Bailey said...

I am offended by the offensiveness of the offended!! I want an investigation.

I drink malt liquor. I should be able to drink it without being called a racist!

ThatGayConservative said...

Isn't the stereotype the offense rather than the person's political views?

One would think so, but libs make fun of the folks I mentioned and blacks in general don't care. Check out Ted Rall's characatures(sp?) of Condi sometime (if you haven't seen them). She's been characterized as a house slave, a porch monkey, Aunt Jemima etc. and nobody on the tolerant, compassionate liberal left gives a damn.

I am offended by the offensiveness of the offended!!

I'll drink to that. BTW, that's one of the things that I sorta learned from Limbaugh and Bush is to not give others the power to offend you. They don't care what others think about them and for the most part, neither do I.

ThatGayConservative said...

Another example:
Trent Lott jokes with Strom Thurmond on his birthday and he's hauled off to the woodshed. Chris Dodd actually praises Robert Byrd (D,KKK) and nobody gives a damn.

Oh and do you think anybody really cares about Biden's opinion on how Osama Obama is such a clean black?

Please.

James said...

If we want to stop this kind of lampooning, let's not perpetuate the stereotype in music videos, commercials, and advertisements -- most of which portray black performers and actors. I don't see too many subway ads with white people smoking Newports or drinking Colt 45.

ThatGayConservative said...

And what about whiggers? Are they racist?

I just think they're stupid, but maybe there's something more there.

GayConservativeLiberal said...

Nas said it best. Hip Hop is dead. Black culture has become a parody of itself thanks to some very enterprising people. But as Khia said, it's time to snatch the cat, and the culture, back.

James Henry Bailey said...

(he he)

you said "snatch"

Kameron said...

Guess I'll have to (respectfully) disagree, to an extent.

It's true that much of the image we see promoted in black culture is not too flattering. I think we can pretty much all agree on that, and you all have certainly addressed it.

"If we want to stop this kind of lampooning," James suggests, "let's not perpetuate the stereotype in music videos, commercials, and advertisements -- most of which portray black performers and actors."

That's great. But what you've all named but seem to be ignoring is the fact that what is being promoted is an image and a stereotype -- not a truth. So why accept it or parody it /as a truth/? That's what boggles me. How can you understand the fact that this is all an image, yet fail to make the jump to treating that image /strictly as an image/ and not as an honest reflection of black culture/people?

Stereotypes are most problematic when they're taken to be truth. People are offended because these parodists seem unable to tell the difference.