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Nick Cannon Embarrasses Himself In Whiteface


white people

Nick Cannon Instagrammed a picture of himself with Whiteface saying, “It’s official… I’m White!!! #WHITEPEOPLEPARTYMUSIC#Wppm in stores April 1st!!!!!!Dude Go Get It!!!Join The Party!!!! #GoodCredit #DogKissing #BeerPong#FarmersMarkets #FistPumping #CreamCheeseEating#RacialDraft “Bro I got drafted!!” “Because only White people have good credit, eat cream cheese and buy organic produce? What? Nick Cannon is releasing an album—sigh—called “White People Party Music.”  He is pulling some kind of stunt involving Whiteface and a “surfer” accent.

Look, a Black person doing Whiteface isn’t the same as a White person doing Blackface, specifically, in America, because of historical context. Still, it’s in very, very, very poor taste and of course while it’s not racist, it’s racial. Because of how history laid the power out today when Black people make harmful comments about White people it doesn’t politically, economically, or socially oppress them. The same way when women talk smack about men it doesn’t have systematic negative effects. Which doesn’t mean that women can’t hurt men’s feelings or people of color can’t hurt white people’s feelings, it’s just not tied up in history and thus not nearly as harmful or “political.” Still, Nick Cannon, grow up. The conversation, if you’re trying to have a conversation about race, needs to move passed this. Satire is a great way to have a lighthearted conversation about a heavy subject but still saying “White people” act this way, is just another way of saying “Black people act that way,” which is ultimately harmful to everyone.

Remember in the ’90s when almost every African American comedian would start jokes with “White people act like that [                      ]. Black people act like this[                      ].” At the time it was an empowering kind of humor because it hadn’t been done before and it was a way for people of color to represent themselves as rational and intelligent beings amidst cultural stereotypes about us being ghetto and loud. It was basically: yeah, we do that sometimes, but there’s actually a reason for that if you’d ever bothered to ask. It was also a way to point out the inconsistencies and hypocrisies that had become white cultural stereotypes, thus articulating the sentiment, “You think you’ve got it all figured out but actually you’re kind of a mess sometimes.” This was more helpful than hurtful because it provided a healthy understanding of two groups who had become increasingly segregated not by law but by choice and class. It gave everyone the chance to laugh at White people and for White people to laugh at themselves, it gave everyone the chance to laugh at Black people and for Black people to laugh at themselves. That’s real healing.

But like I said, we’re passed that. Not only is it lame now, it’s in poor taste. We don’t, our generation at least doesn’t, attribute certain personality traits or lifestyles to individuals just because of their race. When we see that kind of behavior we call it out and demand better. Black kids aren’t just wearing baggie jeans, listening to rap music and speaking in slang anymore (not that all of us ever were). We all speak in slang, all kinds of people love hip hop, all kinds of people love all different kinds of fashion, all kinds of people love science or music or art or language—we’re all cultural mixed bags, our President isn’t just Black, he’s White too. I can’t help but roll my eyes when I see Nick Cannon trying to put White people in a box because that says to me he is trying to put me, CollegeCandy’s readers, my friends, my family—everyone in a box. That ain’t cool, it’s not provocative and it’s not funny. Grow up, dude. You’re mad old now.

Emerald is an editor at CollegeCandy, lover of coffee, and pretend francophile. After studying writing and popular culture at NYU she decided to be a grownup and get a job. Tweet at ya' girl @EmeraldGritty.