27 Mar 2014

Nick Cannon whiteface is not racist

(Nick Cannon/Instagram)
Earlier this week, comedian and musician Nick Cannon used whiteface to promote his new album, White People Party Music, and while there were many who did not find Cannon's marketing strategy racist, there were still some who did. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain why whiteface is not racist or discriminatory, and why it is not comparable to blackface.

 First off, as many of you should already know, there is a dark and painful history of hate, discrimination, and oppression behind blackface. Whiteface, on the other hand, does not have any significant history behind it. Basically, it is comedians making fun of stereotypical white characters, not oppressing them.

Second, and many people don't realize this, but blackface is still going on today. It lives through stereotypes of black people and the people that the black community (hip-hop community I should say) influence. Examples come in the forms of wiggers, wannabe blacks, and/or hip-hop characters. Blackface is perpetuated through these individuals because a lot of people think hip-hop culture is black culture, when in reality, not all black people celebrate or are interested in hip-hop. This is oppressive because it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy in many young black children, who grow up thinking that they can only be a gangster, a rapper, or a basketball player, when they can be so many other things.

Check this: When you see someone who is wearing a really baggy t-shirt with a cap on sideways, bumping the new Schoolboy Q album in his car, what do you think to yourself? Do you say he is an individual who likes hip-hop, or do you ask yourself: Why is this person so black? Probably the latter, and I know this because I've been on both sides of the spectrum. I've judged and was judged.

Whiteface is not discriminatory because the media has illustrated many characters for white people, and the majority of the times, these characters are real; they are based on real sub-cultures and people (skaters, preppy, professional etc.). Blacks, on the other hand, are mostly typified as stereotypical gangster rappers, or eccentric, loud black women who love to rant. So Cannon's use of the white surfer dude is not racist. At best, it is creepy. Really creepy.

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