A Black Person Answers . . . Buzzfeed’s 24 Questions Black People Have For White People

Goddammit, Buzzfeed. I like your videos sometimes. This is just stupid though. Maybe if they were all tongue-in-cheek like the first question about scary movies this video would actually be funny, but it’s not. It tries to be serious. And to do the obligatory pointing out of the obvious, the double standard here is . . .  obvious. I doubt Buzzfeed is going to make “24 Accusatory/Villainizing Questions White People Have for the Coloreds” any time soon.

Let’s just get this over with.


Media and Culture

Why do you always make such horrible decisions in horror movies? It’s not cool to split up.

I agree! Seriously, white people. Paranormal Activity 5 even showed us what would happen if a bunch of Mexicans got haunted by that demon instead of you. Guess what? They’d shoot it and leave. Because we don’t fuck with ghosts and shit. Because we are smart.

2.) Why do you freak out when black people are cast to play white fictional characters?

I know non-white people, myself included, who fucking hate it when this happens. It’s counter productive. Does arbitrarily changing a pre-established character to be black “just because we needed one of those” really something that makes you identity politicos happy? Shouldn’t you be asking for more black characters to be created instead of just taking a character of another race and changing it because you feel like it?

When you do that, that newly “blackenized” character will be nothing but “the black X.” It’s not like the comic book reboot where Miles Morales is the new Spiderman. Miles Morales is a totally different character. They didn’t just make Peter Parker black out of nowhere and call anyone who complained racist. That changed character will never be their own character. Is that what you want? When you change a character’s race just because “we need diversity,” it doesn’t indicate that you are for having more racially diverse characters, it indicates that you just want less white ones. Equality . . . ? I would actually be okay with cross racial casting if the reasoning behind it was something other than “we just need one of those.” DC films casting Aquaman as a POC, for instance, I’m fine with – that casting had actual reasons to do with character perception and narrative. “Diversity!!11@1!!” is not a reason.

Why do POC freak out when a white person plays an originally non-white character in a movie? Oh yeah, because it’s racist.

What’s the big deal if Idris Elba plays James Bond?

Seeing as how the role of James Bond is always changing actors and I personally buy into the fan idea that James Bond is just a code name for multiple agents over the years, this is actually one of the few race changes I’d be okay with. James Bond just needs to be British. Idris Elba is British. Have at it. I already mentioned in another post why I think it’s weird that it’s only ever black people mentioned here. Where are all the people wondering why James Bond isn’t Chinese?

Why is a big butt and big lips considered attractive on a white woman, but they’re considered unattractive on a black woman?

Oh no, different things are considered appealing on different types of people? And that usually–as a result of stupid cultural beauty standards–entails something that that person isn’t naturally born with? It’s almost like how lots of people think black women are really attractive with light hair even though that’s almost never a natural hair color for black girls! But that would be appropriating white people . . . I guess.

Do you really think Miley was the one who created twerking? Really?

Why am I supposed to teach you how to twerk? I don’t know how to twerk.

Why do you want twerking?! It’s dumb. And everyone knows that Miley didn’t create fucking twerking. She popularized it. You know, the way Disney popularized fairy tales even though everyone knows they didn’t make those fairy tales. Maybe if there wasn’t a stereotype about white people not knowing how to dance, they wouldn’t ask you to teach them how. But stereotypes are fine when you’re indulging in them whilst making fun of Miley Cyrus, right?

Why is it that white people always act like they have “discovered” a new trend when people of color have been doing it for virtually years?

Because . . . they have? That’s how trends work, dude. They go on for a while as something only a small group of people does, then they get popular for some reason, then everyone else starts doing it. It’s like everyone all of a sudden loving Ed Wood films 40 years after they were made or Pokemon only getting popular after it came to America even though it existed years before that. Or man buns! Those are everywhere now even though I’m sure hippies were wearing their hair like that for years already. And this isn’t just “white people.” You do realized that black people are part of mainstream culture too, right? You do realize that there are plenty of trends that started in majority white spaces–like the man bun again? You just sound like a fucking hipster whose pissed off that Bright Eyes are more popular now because you can no longer feel special about knowing who they are.

Why is it when a black woman wears her hair natural, it’s seen as inappropriate, but when a white woman does, it’s praised?

This is the hair that I was born with, so you wearing it as a trend is not cute.

Where has this idea come from? I wear my hair naturally. It’s pretty much an afro. I’ve never gotten in trouble for it. And I’m pretty sure that, if this does happen, it’s not because you’re black, it’s because black people’s natural hair tends to be very big and most work places aren’t all that fond of 80s big hair anymore. One of my white friends had super-long and super-thick hair that she constantly got in trouble for because it was like a fucking lion’s mane. It went everywhere all the time. She got in trouble for her hair more than I did.

And what is even with that second one? So . . . you have a certain trait naturally, so other people who like that trait and think it’s pretty just aren’t allowed to have it because that’s not how God made them, I guess? Someone call up all the black girls straightening their hair and dying it other colors. That’s the hair my Scandinavian friend was born with, and you wearing it because you “like how it looks” is not cute. That goes doubly for any of you coloreds who even think that you can wear color contacts. Don’t think I’m being racist. White people, don’t you dare go to a tanning salon. That warm summer glow is just not for you, my friends. Someone was born with that skin tone already, so the world is all out of it right now.

Can you appropriate my student loans? Can you take that off my hands?

I’m pretty sure that most white people who went to college have student loans. Also, how the fuck is hair a culture? Something . . . existing a certain way doesn’t make it a culturally significant thing. That’s like saying people who get nose jobs to have a higher bridge are appropriating Greco-Roman culture because that’s the nose lots of Greek people naturally have! Also dying your hair red is appropriating Scot-Irish culture because lots of Scot-Irish people have red hair! What? Just what.

Why is it that white people committing crime is seen as an isolated incident but black crime is a reflection of my entire community?

Because the entire South isn’t demonized for being full of violent hillbillies and racists or anything. White trash people are judged at all for the crimes of their white trash brothers. Also, “black crime” is often concentrated in certain areas known to be dangerous and is often facilitated through majority black gangs, with gang-related, territory-based crime generally being the kind of crime reported on. Meanwhile, the “white crime” usually reported on tends to be lone actors without larger affiliations or gang crime with less defined territories. “Black crime” is often tied to the politics of communities those black people are in whereas “white crime” (at least the violent kind) is not or is more widespread and thereby is difficult to tie to one place. White gangs tend to move around. That’s kind of just how it played out.

When I see a story about a white person who is a serial killer, I don’t automatically think that all white people are serial killers too.

Good for you? I don’t think the average white person thinks all black people are thugs either. Not even in those high profile cases of “black crime.” You are generalizing and you know it. Also, I don’t buy that you don’t do this seeing as how it’s always someone like your lot who loves to point out how most school shooters are white kids to make a point about “whiteness” is connected to violence. But remember, racially profiling crimes is bad!

Talking about Race

Why does talking about race make you feel so uncomfortable?

Maybe it’s because it’s been drilled into their heads that they are inherently racist and therefore their opinion of race is undoubtedly tainted by their privilege and therefore not relevant to the conversation because “we’ve heard their racist opinion before.” And then if they get past that mental road block, they have to concede every point of the “conversation” to the black person otherwise be deemed a racist who doesn’t recognize their privilege. Maybe that’s why?

Is it because you’ll be perceived as racist if you talk about race?

FUCK YES that is their reason. A white person can’t accidentally look at a black person for too long without it being perceived as racist. Why would they want to actively talk about it? And it’s all about perception. It doesn’t matter if they’re actually racist if a black person makes that accusation. They just are.

You don’t really believe that racism is over because we have a black president, do you?

No. Racism will always exist. The question isn’t, “Does racism still exist?” The question is, “Is racism still a major societal problem?” And I would argue that it isn’t. Obama being black doesn’t mean that there are no more racists in America, but it does mean that society as a whole isn’t racist, not even “subconsciously biased,” seeing as how they voted in a black man to the highest government office twice. Society as a whole is not as racist as lots of people like to insist that it is. Certain subsections and institutions of it, perhaps, but not society.

Why is it so easy for you to notice when there are no white people around, but you hardly notice when there are no black people around?

This is an awesome time for me to ask you guys something! How the fuck do you know what white people think? How do you know what they notice? How do you know what they want? Would you appreciate someone assuming all of these things about you?

To answer the question: People tend to notice when they stick out like a sore thumb. If you are the only person who looks like you–this isn’t just race–in a room, you will probably be well aware of that. The other way around though? Why is that worth taking a mental note of? It’s not just something that plagues white people. That is something that all people do. Or do you go to your POC events and actively notice that there are no Asians?

Why is your goal to be color blind?

Being “color blind” doesn’t mean that you don’t notice someone’s race. It means that you notice it and don’t care or let that effect how you actively judge them as a person. And that seems fine by me. That’s what I try to do. But identity politic nutjobs would have you believe that someone’s race is inherently attached to their character and that their character cannot and should not be assessed without making sure that their race plays a huge part in it. Judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin is stupid.

Curiosity

Why do you want to say “the n-word” so badly?

If I don’t use it, why do you think you can?

You mean’nigger’? It’s a fucking word. Just say it. It’s not like saying it is going to summon Voldemort.

Also, people tend to want to do something when someone else tells them that they absolutely, cannot, 100% under any circumstance ever do it. Especially if the reason is all about how “it’s racist” when they know for a fact that they wouldn’t say it to be racist. But I forgot, intention doesn’t matter at all in these circles. Making something taboo makes people want to indulge in it more. It’s why twelve-year-olds sneak a can of beer into their room to try because they got yelled at for wanting to drink it once. It’s why abstinence only education doesn’t work. It’s why telling people not to click this link will make them want to click it more.

And white people don’t want to say ‘nigger.’ I am fairly sure that they don’t. They want the freedom to say what they want, and they don’t like being told that they–and them specifically–are not allowed to say something no matter what. I tell my white friends that they can say ‘nigger’ around me because it’s a word and words only have the power that you give them. If they don’t say ‘nigger’ as a slur, then it’s not a slur. And it shouldn’t be treated as a slur in that case. But even after being given express permission to say ‘nigger,’ even my white friends who were openly wondering why they couldn’t say it didn’t want to say it when I gave them the chance to. It’s not people just wishing their hearts out that it was more socially acceptable to say all the racist things they’ve been secretly thinking all these years and desperately wanting to use slurs. It’s people not wanting their language policed by forces who do not and will not take their intents into account when judging them for it.

Why do you always want to touch our hair?

Who told you it was okay to touch people without their permission?

Anyone who touches you without permission is violating basic rules of personal space and is wrong for that reason, not because they’re racist. Any adult who does this just wasn’t socialized properly. The only time this has happened to me is in elementary school with other eight-year-olds. When I’m in Japan, people ask to touch my hair a lot because they’ve never seen naturally curly hair before. I went to get my hair cut once and the girls who worked there freaked out. Fun fact: That also consistently happens at American salons. Hair dressers love my hair for some reason. I can understand it being annoying when people touch you without asking, but what if they do ask? Is that wrong? Curiosity isn’t a sin. This also doesn’t just happen to black people ‘because they’re black.’ Lots of people wanted to touch my tattoos while I was in Japan as well because tattoos aren’t very common over there. If you have a unique trait that people aren’t familiar with, them being curious about it isn’t bad.

Why do you feel like having one black friend makes you a cultural expert or not a racist?

And I take it that you are a cultural expert on white people seeing as how you’re making all these assumptions? As tired as the “I’m not racist, I have a black friend,” line is, it does kind of have a point. You don’t see members of the Klan hanging out with Omar on the weekends.

Is your only black friend comfortable being the reason why you cannot be a racist?

I really love how it’s taken for a given here that the white person is question is in fact a racist, they’re just denying it. It’s not like they’re actually not a racist or anything and being accused of being one befuddled them so much that they felt the need to state the obvious and say that they hang out with black people who they don’t hate. Nah, that proves nothing.

By that logic, then I’m not racist, I have a ton of white friends.

Did you just admit to being racist? How very self aware of you.

Why do you feel comfortable cursing at your parents?

My parents are white. I almost bit my own tongue off once because I was about to say the word ‘shit’ in front of my mom and tripped over myself to change it last second. Next.

Why do you kiss your dogs on the mouth?

A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, you judgmental ass. Why don’t black people like to go swimming? You know, since we’re asking pointless questions at this point.

How come you can’t pronounce black names like Quavonjionay . . .

Gonna be honest here, guys. I cannot spell that name. Quavonjine? Q’Vongine? I don’t know. What, were DaBrigashawn and LaVarius too normal for you? Also, you do know that black people don’t have to be named shit like TaRevica right? There are black people named Kevin.

But can say names likes “Schwarzenegger”, “Galifinakis”, and “LeBouf” just fine?

Because those are the names of famous people and therefore part of common household vernacular? Also, people mispronounce all of those names all the time, even with those names being more well known. I don’t get your point here. Can you effortlessly pronounce and spell “white people names” that aren’t fucking famous? Here’s my Polish friend’s last name: Blaszkiewicz. Yep. No white person is going to have trouble with that. How about this Nigerian last name that I’m sure you, as a black person, will have no issue with: Onwuatuegwu.

Black Lives Matter

Why do you feel like all lions’ lives matter, but black lives don’t?

Why is a lion’s life in Africa more important than the lives of black people here in America? What did Simba ever do for you?

Wow, this is super dated already. This is a logical fallacy. It’s taking two totally separate events that aren’t in any way framed as being related and then talking about them as if they were related and everyone knew that. Using this logic, people care more about panda bears than breast cancer. Because when you take two totally separate occurrences and see the two totally separate reactions to them, oh, would you look at that, people seem to care more about the bears. As it turns out, when you actually frame the issue correctly to make this fucking judgement and asked poeple directly what was more important, pandas or cancer, everyone unanimously agrees that breast cancer is more important. I’m pretty sure the same can be said for this lion situation. But if we actually did that, we wouldn’t be disingenuous, and being disingenuous is what we here at Modern Social Activism live for.

Why is it so hard for you to acknowledge your privilege?

Why is it so hard for you to acknowledge your privilege? See how easy that was? If you don’t see it or deny having it, it’s just because you, in all of your privilege, are blind to it! Oh, isn’t social justice fun? Making egregious assumptions about someone based solely on their race and how good I personally think it has made their life in comparison to mine is awesome!

How does it feel to not be the spokesperson for you entire race at any given time?

Must be nice.

Didn’t all of you agree to do this video where you actively speak for all black people? Being a spokesperson for you race can’t be that bad. Is this ironic? “Oh, doesn’t it suck having to do this thing that I agreed to do and am perfectly fine with doing?”


I can’t wait for this kind of mentality to DIE.

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16 thoughts on “A Black Person Answers . . . Buzzfeed’s 24 Questions Black People Have For White People

  1. Em says:

    I can’t believe this video actually exists! Is common sense not necessary in social justice arguments, anymore? I also notice that in some of these questions, these people not only speak for all Black Americans, but all “people of color”. As a brown-skinned Muslim-American, I don’t think Black Americans can speak on behalf of every non-white American. That is too much generalizing. I have gotten just as many ignorant comments regarding my ethnicity from non-white people as from white people.

  2. Dan says:

    This video wasn’t used to make fun of people, it was used to address deeper issues. You clearly haven’t had to experience any of these generalizations, so your answers to each question are pretty much irrelevant. As a black woman I found all of these questions relevant. I suggest you and your privilege don’t answer questions that don’t pertain to you.

    • Wow, black people are different and think different things?! It’s almost like someone’s life experiences and privilege aren’t inherently connected to their race or something. Isn’t that weird.

      As a note, how do these questions NOT pertain to me again? You can either talk about problems “black people” as a generalized group have, in which case, these are my problems. Or you can talk about individuals, which this video doesn’t do for black people or white people. Also, way to discount and discredit MY experience as a black woman just because it doesn’t line up with what you YOU think a “relevant” black woman’s experience is. Is the notion that maybe not all black people experience racism the same way (if at all) not relevant to the fight against racism? To actually start a conversation instead of just shooting someone down immediately: Why do you personally find these things relevant? Do all of them pertain to you?

  3. Matt says:

    You are a breath of fresh air. Thanks for effectively dismantling every part of this video. I watched it and had many of the same thoughts. I appreciate your point of view.

  4. Aileen says:

    You are brilliant.
    – I don’t know anyone that thinks Miley Cyrus invented twerking,
    – Nobody said anything about big lips and big butts being unattractive on blacks, isn’t Beyonce considered like queen of America?
    – Who the hell was arguing that a lion was more important than black people?

  5. Sara says:

    I adored your post! I was so frustrated at the ridiculous rhetoric and double standard. I wondered whether the white people they talked about in the video came from TV reality shows or what. All the stereotypes and generalizations were bonkers. As if all these things (hair touched, etc) happen only to Blacks and no one else. I was writhing after that video but now I can relax because you said it all.

    The whole appropriation thing makes me crazy too. Why should people get upset because mainstream America thinks a part of Black (or Asian or Hispanic for that matter) culture is beautiful, attractive, or noteworthy and starts popularizing it? I get it if this thing comes from a sacred ritual or something, but is everything originally from one culture sacred and untouchable to other cultures? Fine! No sharing.

    This country has never been more race conscious, yet there is more integration and acceptance than ever. So sad. Can’t wait till people wake up to the reality of (all) American privilege and pick something serious to fight instead of petty micro aggressions.

  6. Erin says:

    ….so first this person is not black, as you can tell with the liberal use of the word ‘colored’ which really? This isn’t 1959. And they obviously don’t know the difference between ‘appropriation’ and ‘assimilation’. And as SOON as they said their parents were white it was like “aaahh I see… now it makes sense why this article sounds so stupid.” Your limited experiences all affect the way you “answered” these questions. Please don’t try to claim blackhood just so you can write an article to you and your butthurt white friends feel better. It ain’t cute.

    • A.) There is a picture of my very not-white face on here somewhere.

      B.) I use “colored” ironically to make fun of racists, ie:
      Fox News commentator: “Black people are lazy, why don’t they just get jobs!?”
      My reply: “Yeah, we coloreds just didn’t never think of that job thing!”
      It is called sarcasm. It not being 1959 anymore is the point.

      C.) One of my parents is white. I live with the black part of my family frequently though.

      D.) What “limited experience” are you talking about? Wouldn’t my family being white subject me to more racism, using your apparent standards? Also, I’m not white passing in any capacity. I have experienced racism, some horrible racism actually.

      E.) So. . . . Are you finally going to admit that BLACK PEOPLE are not one amphorous group with one shared experience that can be generalized? Because by dismissing my experiences as a black woman because they aren’t “experienced enough” that’s essentially what you’re doing. What? A black person’s experience doesn’t matter unless their experience is shitty? That’s really cynical, and I hope you see why.

      F.) If you’re going to condescend to me about cultural appropriation, the least you could do is pretend that you skimmed over the post where I talk about assimilation/appropriation arguments in depth.

      G.) My friends don’t even know I write a blog. . . . So. . . Yeah. And fuck me for hanging out with white people (dun dun duuuuun) instead of thinking they suck, am I right?

  7. Hmmm, discovered your blog today and really enjoy your critical thinking. Lots of stuff I vehemently agree with, lots of stuff I don’t…but that’s the nature of reading other people’s opinions. Just wanted to point out that with the pronouncing names thing, their point was exactly your first counter; all those names, Quvenzhané, Galifinakis, LaBoeuf, Schwarzenegger are names of actors, all with respectable degrees of fame (different degrees, depending on what kind of movies you’re into, and how many films they’ve been in; Quvenzhané was only born this century). Yes, all “strange-looking” names are gonna be difficult to pronounce, I doubt I pronounce any of those correctly, but I wonder if you were being willfully obtuse on that first point.

    • Seeing as how the only Quvenzhane I can think of is the name of a child actress who isn’t really all that famous and has only been in a handful of films, I think it’s very misleading to act like her name is somehow just as much a household name as people who have turned themselves into internet memes. They’re just not very comparable. Now, if people continually had trouble pronouncing Beyonce’s name despite her comparable fame, perhaps there’d be a point, but I don’t see that happening.

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