I promise you, this video gave me life yesterday. I mean, I hollered and laughed so hard, my Mari paused her favorite movie to rush over and check to see if I was all right. That’s how funny and dead-on Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls is.
The video is the latest in a series of satirical comedy sketches spurred by Shit Girls Say, a YouTube sensation in which some guy dresses up like a woman and pokes fun at the way we communicate. Similar videos aimed at white men, black women, black men, single moms, gay southern guys and others quickly followed—each of them alternately stereotyping and revealing some truths about the minds of humans and the messages we wrap up in our words.
None of them resonated more for me than Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls—and, if my personal Facebook page is any indication, there are plenty more black women who feel the same. African American women were doing e-fallouts and handing out e-high-fives all day and through the night over comedian/actress Franchesca Ramsey’s comical commentary on the subtleties of white girl cluelessness when it comes to interactions with black girls. With a blonde wig tottering atop her head, Ramsey pulls on a cigarette as she launches a sequence of casually insulting observations at her black girlfriend, like “Why is my computer acting so ghetto?,” and “Why isn’t there a White Entertainment Television.” Of course there’s the perennial, “Can I touch it?,” bit—the question Ramsey’s character asks after she’s already put her hands in her black friend’s natural hair.
Ramsey wrote in a HuffingtonPost piece that the video was inspired by her years of experience as the “token black girl” in her circle of white friends, “which came with a whole host of awkward questions and first experiences for my peers.” She notes that dealing with the faux pas of her white friends is always a tricky proposition: “If I get upset, I could quickly be labeled the ‘angry black girl.’ But if I don’t say anything or react too passively, I risk giving friends and acquaintances permission to continue crossing the line.” She made the parody to “make all people laugh while, hopefully, opening some eyes and encouraging some of my white friends and acquaintances to think twice before they treat their black friends and associates like petting zoo animals or expect us to be spokespeople for the entire race.”
While Ramsey’s video pokes fun at a much more modern and younger white girl—her character is a Facebook stalking, Nikki Minaj fan—I can personally attest to the fact that this madness has been going on since at least 1978, when my new white neighbor, Susan, ran her fingers across my afro puff and told me I looked like “Dee” from What’s Happening? O_o. And it continues today, even now that I’m a grown woman. As noted by one of my Facebook buddies: “The comments are only slightly different as we age and serve on the PTA, girl scouts & room parent together. I hope they can laugh at themselves, become enlightened and we can all have a The View moment.”
Not sure that laughing part will happen. But here’s to hoping that Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls at least gives a little food for thought. Thankfully, my daughters haven’t had to face this head on—a testament to the fact that they are surrounded by friends of all colors, cultures and backgrounds, with mamas who are around enough black women to know there are just some things you don’t say, do or assume about people of color. Of course, my girls don’t live in a bubble, so I know they’ll eventually have to endure the inevitable questions/comments/actions of those who don’t look like or make assumptions about them. They know the drill: if it comes from someone you know and like and it offends you, say that. If it comes from someone you don’t know and don’t care for and it offends you, say that, too. But maybe not as nicely. And then get on with your life. Because it’s too short to get your blood pressure up over the stupidity of others.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.