It’s no secret that it’s extremely lucrative to “critique” the black community. So many people have become famous and/or wealthy by telling black people that we need to do better. Raven Symone, Don Lemon, Ben Carson, and Bill Cosby, were all once held up by black people only to come back and tell us that we’re terrible. While they try to disguise this rhetoric as well-meaning, these critiques never actually come from a sincere place, typically they are from a place of condescension and a bit of self-loathing. The type of self loathing that paints black culture as a culture of pathology.
Speaking of self loathing, the other day, Buzzfeed released a video where they had a bunch of black people ask a bunch of questions to other black people. From the beginning, this video reeked of respectability politics, stereotypes and internalized racism. With that said, I have some answers for those guys. Keep in mind, I am only one person and can not represent all black people.
Q: Why is it so hard to be on time?
A: Are you writing any checks? Why are you so pressed that I’m late to this cookout? You’re not even finished cooking.
Q: If my dab is on fleek, am I lit?
Q: Why is it a problem if I like anime?
A: It’s not. There are tons of black people who like anime, there are even groups and clubs devoted to black people who like anime.
Q: Why do black people look at your shoes before they greet you?
A: I personally look at how well-groomed your eyebrows are to decide if I trust you. You sir, have untrustworthy eyebrows.
Q:Why are we more likely to get involved in a new dance trend than we are to get involved in politics or open a business?
A: Get you a man/woman who can do both.
Q: How did watermelon become our thing?
A: I have wondered the same thing, I personally believe black people like peaches more. But to get to the bottom of this question you’ll have to ask our old buddy Jim Crow.
Q: Why do you get upset when I don’t like a black celebrity?
A: I feel like this is #Beyhive shade.
Q: Why do we call each other the n-word but get upset when other races use it?
A: You’d only ask this if you hate things like historical context.
Q: Why is my natural hair a political statement?
A: OK, I’ll get real here. For 400+ years our natural hair has been considered unruly and ugly. We’ve spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to “tame it” so we can fit into society’s narrow, Eurocentric beauty standards. When we defiantly decide to embrace our hair texture and balk at the standards we have been held to, that’s a political statement, fool!
Q: Why do we think people with light skin look better than people with dark skin?
A: While I do not actually believe this, we live on earth where “white is right” and many people have been ingrained with the aforementioned Eurocentric beauty standards that reinforces that at every turn. See also: white supremacy
Q: Do you really believe that black is beautiful or is that something you say because it sounds cool?
Q: Why do some people say “you’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl”
A: Some folks are stupid. Also, see aforementioned Eurocentric beauty standards, again.
Q: Why do some black men only date white women?
A: There is likely a multitude of reasons for this being that black men aren’t a monolith.
Q: Why is it OK for black men to date white women but not OK for black women to date outside their race?
A: Who told you this? You can literally date who you want because this is a free country.
Q: Why do you protest black lives matter and then tear each other down in the next breath?
A: Congrats, you have just won respectability politics bingo! I can’t think it’s unconscionable for there to be state sanctioned killings of black people, with no consequences, but also call y’all super stupid for asking these types of silly questions? Girl, what?
Q: Why do we say we don’t want to be seen as a monolith but then try to take away people’s black card for not liking something that’s “supposedly black”
A: No one has a black card, our black card is our skin. No matter what you like or dislike you will still be black, don’t worry. Unless you’re talking about the American Express card, then yes, your black card can be taken away.
Q: Why are we so quick to support a non-black owned business, but then hesitate when it’s a black owned business
A: This actually pisses me off. Who else supports black-owned businesses if not black people? Black people support black businesses at a higher rate than anyone else because we typically cater to our own community.
Q: Is there a cutoff time for homophobia in the black community?
A: I honestly feel like folks love to play this up as though black people are the only homophobes.
Q: Why is growing up without a father so common within our race?
A: Actually, it isn’t. Black people may marry less, but in a 2013 study done by the CDC, black dads are proven to actually be more involved in their children’s’ everyday lives than any other demographic. So it’s about time for folks to let go of this racist myth.
Q: Why don’t we like to confront our mental health issues?
A: Access to mental health care is a privilege in the US that is denied to many people.
Q: Why is there a checklist for being black?
A: Do you have a link to this? Because I can’t find it.
Q: Why is being educated considered a white thing?
A: Again, who told you this?
Q: Why do I have to be mixed in order to have long hair?
A: You don’t. The girl who asked this stupid question had long hair. What kind of question is this?
Q: Why do you think “well off” black people don’t know what it means to be black?
A: They know what it means to be black. They’re black.
Q: Why do some black people say “Oh I have Native American in my family” in order to feel interesting?
A:Maybe they do have Native American in their family, maybe they want to feel interesting because they don’t believe their blackness is enough. Seems like you may have answered your own question here.
Q: Why can’t we acknowledge that there are different types of black people?
A: Seems like y’all at Buzzfeed Video may be part of the problem.
Q: Why are we always looking for the discount?
A: Maybe it’s because some of us are economically disadvantaged. Maybe it’s because we live in a capitalistic society. Perhaps a combination of both.
Again, these are just my answers to these questions. I believe they were asking all black people, so this will likely have to be brought up at the next National Black People Consensus Convention in July at Ray Ray’s house. Additionally, we’ll be addressing why it matters that fat meat is greasy. But honestly, my biggest beef with this video and people who hold these beliefs is their insistence that black people are not a monolith and their simultaneous belief in these ridiculous stereotypes and generalizations.