A List Of People Allowed To Make Jokes About Colored People Time, Explained » VSB

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A List Of People Allowed To Make Jokes About Colored People Time, Explained

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) and his wife Chirlane McCray (left) look on as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a debate watch party on April 14, 2016, in New York City. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Who is Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton is the name of the made-up politician invented and expertly portrayed by Saturday Night Live’s amazing Kate McKinnon. (Who, btw, is so good in her bits — this “Close Encounter” skit is a classic — that she should just change her name to The Amazing Kate McKinnon.)

Stop playing. I know you know Hillary Clinton is a real person. 

I know. I just have trouble believing it sometimes. She has a palpable and authentic inauthenticity. Like a fake pair of Jordans made in a real Nike factory.

Who is Bill de Blasio?

Bill de Blasio is tall.

Why are they in the news today?

While on stage last weekend at an event where de Blasio was set to officially endorse Clinton, they (de Blasio and Clinton) thought it would be a good idea to devise a humorous skit where de Blasio joked about being on colored people time.

What is colored people time?

The best way to describe colored people time would be that I planned on publishing this piece at 3pm, but it didn’t actually publish until 6:34pm.

Why did it take you so long?

Because I’m a colored person. And despite carrying with me three separate devices that inform me of the time — a phone, a watch, and a laptop — when it comes to “when things I’m involved in are supposed to happen,” things just never seem to happen less than 17 minutes after they’re supposed to happen. I don’t know why this happens. I actually think us being allowed to be late to everything should be a surcharge America pays us for that slavery thing — stopwatch reparations, if you will — but that’s just me.

The cruelest cinematic example of the danger of colored people time occurs in Goodfellas, as Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) actually kills Stacks (Samuel L. Jackson) for shit related to his chronic lateness…and then comments about him being late to his own funeral while killing him!

Wow, that was cold. Well, did the joke work when Clinton and de Blasio tried it?

Of course not. One because Hillary Clinton seems to have the comedic chops of a Brookstone meat thermometer. But mainly because neither Clinton nor de Blasio possess the requirements necessary to tell a joke about colored people time in front of a bunch of White people.

Such as?

Be a colored person.

That’s it?

That’s not enough?

It is, I’m just asking if being a colored person is the only requirement.

It’s not the only requirement. But it is a baseline requirement. The baseline requirement. Kind of like how knowing how to read isn’t the only skill you need to possess to be a teacher. You also need to know how to create lesson plans and manage classrooms and trick lunchladies in giving you free pizza and shit. But you can’t be a teacher if you can’t fucking read first.

Even if the joke is a joke about how you can’t joke about it, and includes assistance from a Black person?

Yes. Meta jokes about racism have such a high degree of difficulty and such a pronounced potential downside — the existence of Tropic Thunder’s Kirk Lazarus is the only recent example of it working I can think of, where it was pitch-perfect and actually funny — that it’s best to avoid attempting them altogether.

What if, like de Blasio, you have a Black wife and a biracial son?

At an interracial wedding, is the White groom or bride required to inject themselves with a shot of Black people melanin? (I’ve never been to an interracial wedding before. So forgive my ignorance if this happens. Perhaps this replaces the broom jump.)

Of course not.

So there’s no process non-Black people go through when married to Black people to make themselves Black too?


So, despite being married to a Black woman and the father of a biracial child, Bill de Blasio is not Black? And is, in fact, still White?


Then no, having a Black wife and biracial son does not put you on the list of people where its okay to make a colored people time joke in front of a bunch of White people.

Well, can a non-Black person make that joke in front of a bunch of Black people?

A pancake with a bunch of blueberries in it is just a blueberry pancake.



Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • janedoe_jones

    Lemme just say, as a fellow Pittsburgher, I love you.

    I was just having an exchange on facebook with 2 friends about how we were rendered bereft of our collective vocabularies–and that we were all failing miserably in our attempts to comment on this utterly unbelievable bullshizzy.

    And here you come. 412 to the rescue.

    The world makes sense again.

  • Why does the alabaster brigade keep trying it?

    I HATE Hillary “Cankles” Clinton.

    • TeeChantel

      Cankles! LOL

    • Quirlygirly

      Cankles!! Bwhahaha..too funny

  • overandout

    Am I the only one who dgaf? 1) they didn’t write this joke, some unfunny and probably black person associated with the skit event did.
    And 2) the joke is literally about white people not being able to joke about CP time.

    • Skegeeaces

      Does it really matter who wrote it? They shouldn’t have said it.

      • TomIron361

        What’s wrong with cpt? Doesn’t the whole world know black people are constantly late for everything?

        • Deb0nair D0c

          All brown people… and Italians too. (blame the Moors?)

        • Skegeeaces

          Man, f all that noise! I’m on time! Time = money.

          • TomIron361

            Does it mean there’s no CPT just because every so often a black person is on time for something?

            • Skegeeaces

              By that logic, there should be WPT, APT, NAPT, MPT, and LPT. Er’body late at SOME point! LOL

              • TomIron361

                Are black people known for CPT or are they known for being late at “Some point?”

                • Skegeeaces

                  All people are being known for being late at some point. It’s not a condition exclusive to black people. I’ve seen chronic lateness come in ALL shades just like ALL people like chicken. Lol

                  • TomIron361

                    Correct, there are certain people who’re chronically late. However, isn’t it the entire black race that is known for lateness/CPT?

            • Skegeeaces

              Oh, so you’ve done research on the prevalence of lateness in all black people? You’ve also done a statistical analysis on the lateness of other races to contrast? Yeah, right. Bye, Felicia. You’re just repeating a stereotype you heard on TV.

      • Question

        Ehhhh….but doesn’t it kinda matter if we wrote it? Said differently, which is the bigger issue – the fact that they said it or the fact that one of us (or a team of us) likely wrote it, cosigned it and thought it was ok?

        Case in point: I don’t care so much when White folks call WJC the first Black President – I do care – but it bothers me more when WE say it, because we give credence to their nonsense.

        But having typed that I wonder now if I”m treading that same line for why respectability politics is nonsense. Right is right and wrong is wrong…or something…maybe…right?

  • Colored People Time:
    The momentum and / or any amount of time it takes for us to respond to a VSB post when we’re at work.
    **Muttley snicker. .**

  • Vanity in Peril

  • BTW…
    I saw the close encounter skit a few days ago. ..
    Hilarious (to me).

  • Vanity in Peril

    Hilly from Arkansilly really tryna make us feel the Bern even though he cannot win.

  • Kas

    Hillary is fast becoming the good looking guy at the club that women want to give it to . . if he would just stop talking.

    • Cheech

      Uh uh. She has long been the only woman at the bar at five minutes to closing time. Bunch of guys unenthusiastically watching– weighing whether to talk to her, fight over her, or just say eff it and go home alone.

      • _____________________________________________________________________________

      • Kas

        I defer to your far superior analogy.

    • LMNOP

      Except without all the good lookingness. Or other redeemable qualities. But I sure wish she would stop talking though.

      • Kas

        Like I’m trying to give her this good vote, but dayum, please just don’t talk.

        • LMNOP

          Hillary is like a very graphic STD PSA. Just keep that vote in your pants, Kas.

          • Kas

            On the one hand, that was the joke I was hinting at but it sounds so horrible coming back at me. Let us never speak of this again.

  • Furious Styles

    What about Gary Owen?

  • NoGames

    Being married to a black person and then having Black children does not give you a pass to make racially insensitive jokes. However, let’s be honest it seems that many of us LOVE so very much to give others a “Black Card” or put them on our “Black List” for no good reason. They just “cool.”

    But (as Bill and Bill and Hillary are finding) this construct is fraught with several points of failure:

    1. Your Black card is not transferable so it will not be accepted by those in establishments where you are not known as, “Bill with the fine Black wife.” You will just be a white guy named Bill.

    2. The Black List is not well published or widely disseminated so your name is just Hillary not, “Hillary, honorary Black delegate due to the shenanigans of her triflin,on the Black List, ‘Black’ husband.”

    3. If you get pulled over, or carry an Arizona Ice Tea, or shot up a movie theatre YOU will live to tell about it even if you carry a “Black Card” and appear on the “Black List.” You know…because your are not Black.

    • “Your Black card is not transferable so it will not be accepted by those in establishments where you are not known as, “Bill with the fine Black wife.” You will just be a white guy named Bill.”


    • ChokeOnThisTea

      “Being married to a black person and then having Black children does not give you a pass to make racially insensitive jokes. However, let’s be honest it seems that many of us LOVE so very much to give others a “Black Card” or put them on our “Black List” for no good reason. They just “cool.””

      Whew. You broke that down so well, I just had to repeat it again.

      • NoGames

        Agree to disagree… Yonce, Barack,crazy tail Tiger Woods and all the other “I got Indian/ Creole/ Asain in my family are Black (IMHO) if one parent (the mother or father) is Black. Again, just my opinion…. But I especially think this when those who are biracial definitely don’t look white. I mean they WILL not be extended a WHITE CARD…ever! Evah, evah, evah!
        So what are they just card-less folk?
        I think as long as they stay in the good ol USA (cause I hear other places are different) ..the COLOR they DO have will have them be perceived as COLORED (which they are) which is why I do not attempt to discredit their Black experience, because they are having it whether they want to have it or not! Plus, they will NEVER be just white and therefore garner ALL of the perks and benefits of White privilege. Is there some “Light” privilege…yup but that ain’t the same thing and it apparently comes with the added issue of constantly having to carry and have your Black Card validated. I know families with kids who range from vanilla wafer to coffe bean complexion who have two Black parents, parents who I guess may have some mixed family members in their blood line but what BLACK AMERICAN doesn’t…how dark do you (and your mother and your granny) have to be to get a Black Card? Like I always say, if you are Black when you get pulled over, you are probably Black the rest of the time too, even if your grandma on your daddy’s side is Cherokee.

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          You know it’s possible to issue Biracial Cards now, right? Lol! We ain’t gotta do what massa say no more.

          • LeeLee

            Butttttttt, are you EVER perceived as White tho? I know those in my family are not – by complete strangers, and often it’s just TINY nuances that ID them on sight as being anything BUT White. Dese folks don’t really TAN if you get my point! Lol – I think that’s the CRUX of why many often say Black, biracial or not.

            • ChokeOnThisTea

              Biracial people are not simply white. Biracial people are not simply black.

              • LeeLee

                Pretty sure I didn’t say they were. Just tried to address a WHY.

          • Conrad Bess

            My wife is Chilean. She accepts that regardless of her contributions genetically, that our daughters ARE black. In this white male supremacy world we live in, my girls will be called n1ggers first, b1tches second. I am well aware of their mother’s heritage, and I am going to encourage their participation in learning about it. When we visit Santiago, regardless of their fluency in Spanish, regardless of their potential love for empanadas, their broad noses and their kinky ‘fros and their caramel skin will have some Chileans denying them that part of their identity.

            • ChokeOnThisTea

              Your daughters are biracial. Regardless of who accepts it.
              And they’ll probably be seen as “n1ggas” who are a “cut above” “n1ggas” with two black parents. Not that they are. But you know–colorism and stuff.

              • Conrad Bess

                I know that they are biracial. My wife knows they are biracial. But the world we live in, they will be seen as black. And you’re right, colourism is horrid. All I can do is be their shelter when that sh1tstorm rains down on them.

                • ChokeOnThisTea

                  Experience and studies have shown that at times, white people view half-black people more favorably than darker black people with two black parents. Sadly, colorism will work in your biracial daughters’ favor far more than it ever would in my future black daughters’. And that’s unfortunate. Nevertheless, like me and my future-black husband, our children will stand proud in their rich black beauty and heritage. =)

                  • Conrad Bess

                    Colourism has been used to divide black people since the slave ship. That “favouritism” you speak of was nothing more than a tool to create distrust and dislike for black skin. Lightskin vs. darkskin. Essentially, it just means that we won’t be as harsh with you – cuz you got a lil white in you. But you still a n1gger. My DNA is dominant. Thus the broad noses. Thus the curly and growing out hair. Thus the darker than their mother’s skin. Society dictates the norms, and the norm is that the children of a mixed race couple identify with the “minority”. Look up Miss Japan. She is of a Japanese mother and African American father. She identifies as Japanese. A lot of folks in Japan however kicked in their paper walls claiming she wasn’t “full Japanese”. I am not about to place my girls in some ethnic purgatory where they do not fit either standard.

                    • ChokeOnThisTea

                      How can your mom be biracial when BOTH of her parents are black(-ish)?

                      Anyhoo, just don’t teach your babies that they’re “simply” Black. And don’t be like the parents of some half-black children who teach their kids that because they have curly hair as opposed to kinky/nappy hair and relatively lighter skin, that they’re better than our black babies. The world will thank you. :)

                      Peace and blessings to you, brotha.

                • LeeLee

                  I GET IT Conrad! A close friend’s four children have a similar heritage to your children, and though they were raised to believe they would be seen as biracial, they haven’t experienced that perception MOST of the time. Needless to say, the sh!tstorm hit and they are ill-prepared. NOT cool.

    • Phee_nix

      The Black Card never stops making me uncomfortable. Do I graciously say thanks, then tuck it away because I know I’m not going to use it? Do I decline the card and explain that I am not equipped to use it??

    • Phee_nix

      The Black Card never stops making me comfortable. Do I graciously say thanks, then tuck it away because I know I’m not going to use it? Do I decline the card and explain that I am not equipped to use it??

      • ChokeOnThisTea

        You return it and give us a list of the names of the black people who issued it to you, so that we can revoke their Black Cards.

        • Phee_nix

          Lololol! I just have a small like stuck in drawer that have probably expired…. I’m much more comfortable just being the cool white person.

          • ChokeOnThisTea

            No worries. It was never activated. But yes, you can definitely be a cool white person. :)

            • Quirlygirly

              “They were never activated”

              This tickled me so!

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                Gotta let ’em know. You never had one from the start.

            • Overtymer Adio

              What are your qualifications of being a cool white person? Do you have a cool white person certification? If so then who or what certified you as a cool white person?

          • Cheech

            Mine is hidden in a footlocker full of memorabilia in the attic. At the bottom, wrapped in a Commodores t-shirt. I’m saving it for sentimental value.

        • Slightly misanthropic

          If only!!!

      • Yve Black

        Phee_nix you decline the card…and that’s what makes you cool cause you know you aren’t equipped to yse it…lol :o

      • LMNOP

        I’m assuming from this comment that you’re white. I think any reference someone ever makes to your “blacknesss” is a compliment, especially if it is related to something white people are notoriously bad at like cooking* or dancing, so graciously accept the compliment and don’t even think about it beyond that because everyone involved knows you’re not really black. Of course.

        *To clarify, I am not insulting your cooking. And I am most definitely not insulting your mother’s cooking, just referencing the stereotype.

        • Phee_nix

          I always take it as a compliment **Insert gracious smile. My issue is that blackness is not something that can be learned or earned by increasing your “black skill set.” It’s who you are and all the societal implications attached. Nothing makes me cringe more that seeing white people overstep boundaries because of who they are married to or how well they can cook. I learned how to cook from black women, but I am still a white woman cooking a black woman’s recipe (unless I add more cheese or paprika or something to make it my own, then idk whose recipe that would be, but you get it..).

          My mom really can’t cook by the way.

          • LMNOP

            I agree completely. And I’m sorry to hear that about your mom.

            • Phee_nix

              Me too. It was a childhood full of snacks.

              • Lea Thrace

                ” It was a childhood full of snacks.”

                I shouldnt have but I CACKLED SO LOUDLY AT THIS!

              • Maxine Shaw

                Did you get, like, those individual snack pack servings? Or was your family like mine, where “there’s some spaghetti from last night” was considered a snack?”

                • Phee_nix

                  When I had a babysitter, that is where I ate breakfast. I started watching myself at 9, though, and don’t recall eating breakfast between the ages of 9 and 14 (although I’m sure I did at least a couple times). School lunch was school lunch..but I KILT -with a T- the rolls and mashed potatoes. I left directly from school and did gymnastics until 9pm every night after which I indulged in a fulfilling meal of m&ms and Dr Pepper.

                  As a parent now, my kids get home cooked meals at least four days per week. …..but they can’t wait for snacks lol.

      • NoGames

        Lol…at tuck it away! Yes, that has to be hard because you can’t say, “No, I don’t want it!” Think of the reaction that would get you! I think we all should just appreciate when we meet “good folk” and not make being “cool” an exclusively Black thing.

        • Phee_nix


    • Question

      Yes. Can we stop giving out honorary blackness to folks? No more. Zilch. Nada. Its like the Black Card (Amex Centurion). If you didn’t get your honorary blackness prior to 2016, it ain’t happening because we aren’t making any more.

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