Behind the Mask: Why It Doesn’t Always Work

Behind the Mask: Why It Doesn’t Always Work

We all have a social mask, right? We put it on, we go out, put our best foot forward, our best image. But behind that social mask is a personal truth, what we really, really believe about who we are and what we’re capable of. ~ Phil McGraw
Nick Cannon in hopes of sparking interest for his coming aptly named album White People Party Music, once again re-opened the race appropriation debate; by appearing in whiteface, that is.  Now, for Onyx Truthers who don’t go back that far, I spoke about this subject before.  The difference now is that the discussion gets a lot more complex.

First things first — I’m going to put it out there — the “white outrage” of this is fake.  Why?  A white person being upset about this makes as much sense as a gay man making fun of hetero men by marrying a woman, and then staying in that loving marriage for 90 years.  Simply put: if YOU are the majority, if YOU are the stat quo, YOU don’t get to be upset when a minority, or any member of a group of peoples without equal or higher social capital than yours get to mimmick you.  Why? Because it is people of YOUR social group (read: whites) who demand all other peoples (read: nonwhites) to CONFORM to your standard in the first place.  People are all over the world breaking their necks trying to look, act, sound white… not for entertainment, but for some sociological gain, much to the expense of their own socio-psychological identity.  Not long ago there was a prominent Asian Republican who urged all nonwhites to begin acting more white.

While Bobby Jindal’s statement may become more rare due to social backlash, that remains the overwhelming sentiment of the majority, and it has been the sentiment of whites in America for very long time.

“I’ve been black and dark-skinned for many years, I wanted to see the other side. I wanted to see what it would be like to be white and I’m happy.” ~ Nomasonto Mnisi, South African Musician

Conforming to whiteness — copying white behavior — is the reason why Malcolm X documented extensively on how he felt when his scalp burned to imitate white hair, to look more white.  This is also the reason why straightening of black hair exists as is with millions around the world trying to attempt to “look more white”.  This is also why skin bleaching is prominent all over Africa and South Asia, which goes as far as women bleaching their own crotch.  This is also the reason why Eastern Asians cut their eyes open to widen them… to appear more white.  In Southeast Asia cutting off noses to replace it with a whiter looking, Nordic nose is also a side-effect to this cultural phenomenon.  You have people of color who have a subconscious hatred of their own skin tone, worldwide. A phenomenon called “colorism” exists, where darker people place a sense of superiority into whoever looks the closest to being white.

So yes I call your outrage counterfeit, and you ain’t buying shit with that funny-money in my house.  White people (those who make effort with false concern) are Doctor-Evil-quotation “angry” at Nick Cannon’s whiteface because minorities don’t appreciate it when it’s reversed, thus this false outrage is fake, imitation behavior at best. This outrage is empty, no different than a banana peel, and as just as treacherous.  Honestly there’s not enough white people even mad at this; part of being stat quo is not giving a damn.  But for those who try, pretending you are angry because “that’s apparently how minorities respond” is quite insulting, to say the least.

Some would say, there’s a double standard.  Perhaps there is, but here are a few fun facts:

Black people were not mad at Robert Downey Jr. when he played an actor in blackface in Tropic Thunder.

White girls were not “outraged” when Wayans Brothers played a pair of blondes in the aptly named movie, White Girls

White men weren’t mad when Dave Chappelle went whiteface on his show numerous times…

 Most might have even missed Eddie Murphy as the New York Jew in Coming to America.

So the point here is not that there’s a double standard, the fact is that it doesn’t always work.  People accept entertainers when it’s done right.

Nick Cannon is a variable-venue entertainer promoting an album & mocking white privilege in the process.  Honestly, you’re not even mad at it or him.  You’re just mad at the fact that the possible offense of it doesn’t always work.


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