*File this under “White people Trying To Be Creative in Their Attempts to Understand African Americans,” because this one here is a sho’ nuff doozie.
Sally and Johnny, both white, think they may have found the perfect solution for white people to try and develop friendships with African Americans. On their website, “blackpeopleloveus.com” there is an array of photos and testimonials from their black friends who reveal what it is that makes their friendship work and how great their white friends are.
And no one could be happier than the couple, whose site reads,
Welcome to our website:
Black People Love Us!
We are well-liked by Black people so we’re psyched (since lots of Black people don’t like lots of White people)!! We thought it’d be cool to honor our exceptional status with a ROCKIN’ domain name and a killer website!!
You think I’m lying. Keep reading!
Take a look at what one woman who wears dreadlocks states in her testimonial,
“Sally loves to touch my hair! She always asks me how I got my hair to do this. That makes me feel special. Like I have magical powers!”
Sally and Johnny give me ample opportunities to translate rap lyrics, reggae songs, and/or street slang! Like I’m a mouthpiece for many, many cultures of dark-skinned people.
Now, I know what you’re thinkin’ black folk and it goes a little something like this,
But truly, think about it, when it comes to educating white people about blackness, would African Americans be satisfied with any approach they take when asking a question like “How do you get your hair like that?” or “Why do black people do this or that?”
Face it: it can’t be easy.
It takes discernment for one (Do you actually recognize opportunities to teach someone of a different race something or do you automatically get offended and assume the person is being racist?
Remember “ignorance” is not necessarilyy meant to be a put-down (though everyone seems to use it that way!). It actually means “not knowledgeable” about something or “uninformed.” So, in reference to one of the two scenarios above: The second question, “Why do black people do this or that?” is a generalization based on ignorance and your response would be different than it would be on the first question” “How do you get your hair like that?”
Anyway, back to the website.
Chelsea Peretti, a 24-year-old stand-up comedian, and her brother, Jonah Peretti, a 28-year-old Web designer, are the creators of blackpeopleloveus.com and they told ABCNews that they meant for their Web site to be a joke.
They didn’t expect everyone to find the comedy within their site, but they didn’t want to offend or anger anyone either.
“I think when you’re using humor, it’s not something that everyone will think is funny,” Chelsea said on ABCNEWS’ Good Morning America. I don’t think humor is always a universal thing. If everyone thought it was funny, I would be surprised,” she said.
The site creators say they have seen racial misunderstandings up close and personal. While the both of them are white, they grew up with a black stepmother. In recognizing the “clumsy attempts” made by white people who try to relate to blacks, they designed the website as a satirical approach that at the same time, may serve to educate whites on this.
And it may be working on some level.
One white person who wrote in said,
“It made me look at my own actions and ideas. I realized that I too have made the comment ‘He or she is very articulate’ referring to a black person … ”
Another person described it as ” … a wake-up call for all of us white people who think, ‘oh, but I’m not racist,’ who think we’re ‘down’ with the black community.”
But of course, some people are not feelin’ the site at all.
“We all knows how racism works is this country,” one commentor said. “To make fun of it just lets people off the hook. You would think you could be a little bit more sensitive.”
But you can’t say these folks are not “equal opportunity offenders!” Just look at the comments below.
Johnny doesn’t smell like a wet dog when he gets rained on!
And this one:
Sally uses a washcloth in the shower and scrubs herself!!
Please share how YOU would approach learning about another race, while at the same time, not wanting to be offensive. I think you will agree, it is not easy – even when you are being authentic.
Oh! And for the record, as a black person my response to the “You are so articulate for a black person” comment has always, authentically, been: “I have never met a white person who speaks as well as I do.”
Sure, you can borrow it. Go ‘head!