Would You Buy a “Black Friend for a Day?”
You can buy a ton of items on Ebay – like shoes, watches, perfumes, even furniture or cars. But, people? Why, who woulda thunk it? A listing on Ebay, posted on Jan. 7 2011 wants to sell you a black man. Yes folks: a black man.
The listing says, “Do you want to feel hip? Did you say something that may have seemed racist in front of someone and want to prove that you really aren’t? Need a work out partner? Movie buddy? Got an extra ticket to a game? Well I’m your guy. For one day, I’ll be your black friend and we’ll party or do whatever you like to do for fun that doesn’t creep me out. I’m 22 years old, love beer and basketball.”
Pause. The first impression you can have upon hearing about this ad, is: ‘OMG! A black man for sale? Who would dare conjure up slave history like that?’ Then, you read the ad and you want to smirk a bit, because it’s a satire of what black men are supposed to be. In some ways, it’s really quite clever and hilarious. It ends by saying:
“Just pick a day and we’ll work it into our schedule. You just have to pay for my round trip flight if you don’t live in NY and all other expenses. I’ll need the payment in my account at least 2 days before I travel. Send me a message before you bid if you have any questions.
Warning: I cannot dance, sing, or jump really high.”
Of course, since every black man can “dance, sing or jump really high (unlike white brothers that can’t jump), the ad’s “warning” makes you want to chuckle a bit. Also, since everybody knows how difficult it is for 22-year-olds to survive in New York, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, the idea of an Ebay ad selling your best asset, i.e. yourself, doesn’t seem so bad. Most people must pay an arm and a leg in New York for rent and living expenses, so why not pay your whole self in an Ebay ad that starts with a $399 bid?
Some readers may be able to handle the joke. Others might say it’s in poor taste, given the history and current standing of black men as either slaves or scapegoats in society. What do you say?