Do White People Really Know What Racism Is?

January 12, 2012  |  

Franchesca Ramsey’s YouTube video, “Shyte White Girls Say to Black Girls” might have come along a little late in the history of the “Shyte say” meme but it’s certainly created the most controversy. While all of the videos paint a very stereotypical portrait of the group they’re imitating, Franchesca’s video has been flagged as “reverse racism.” She even went on Anderson Cooper’s new show to speak about the video and defend herself against claims that statements made in the video were racist.

Check out a short clip from the show below

Racist, eh? The word gets thrown around entirely too much, by people of all races, that perhaps we’ve become desensitized to it. For those of you who might need a refresher course racism is, according to Merriam Webster, “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” I had to read that a couple of times so to state it more plainly, racism means a person believes that because they are of a particular race they are superior to a person of another race.

A second definition states that one can show prejudice or discrimination to a particular person because of one’s racist beliefs.

Judging by those definitions it’s clear that Franchesca’s video does not fall into either one of those categories. She is not stating that black people or anybody is better than the people who make these statements to black women. What it does do is highlight some of the ignorance believed and expressed by some people…who happen to be white.

Very few things in this world are absolute. When the “Shyte Black Girls Say” video came out, I didn’t see myself in 99 percent of the jokes he made. (I’m not going to lie, I love to say “It’s hot/cold in here.” or “That’s my song, turn that up.”) But I still found humor in it because I’ve heard plenty of black girls say those same things. And if those crying “reverse racism” were honest with themselves they’d find the same is true about Franchesca’s video.

Not for one minute do I believe that all white people express such ignorance as some of the statements made in her video; but I’ve also seen,  experienced and been privy to conversations about enough of those comments to know that there are white people, whether they mean harm or not, who have used some of those exact phases or asked those same questions. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant. Our experiences on this earth only explain so much. There is a problem, however, in being confronted with your ignorance and choosing to ignore it while pointing the finger at the one trying to educate you.

In all honesty, I can’t help but feel like white people, who are coming to the racism game a little late, might not truly know what the word, the belief and the corresponding actions might look like.

What do you think, was Franchesca’s video racist? Have you seen or heard people using the “racist” term incorrectly?

Image via YouTube

More on Madame Noire!

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
blog comments powered by Disqus