In the last month or so, I’ve learned through web analytics and private conversations that VSB has a much bigger non-black fanbase than I would have guessed. While I’ve always known we (blacks) don’t have a complete monopoly on VSB readership, the sheer amount of readers who don’t fit any of the assumed VSB reader demographics has, quite honestly, surprised me.
It shouldn’t have, though. Between our growth in traffic, our branching out to “non-urban” parts of the internet, and the fact that much of our content is race-neutral, it’s really not much of a shock that white people like us too. We’re not quite Snoop Dogg (#1 on the list of “traditionally ‘black’ people, places, and things white people like much more than black people do“) but we’re not Marion Berry either.
Anyway, while most African-Americans interact with white people on a daily basis, there are things about “white culture” we’re still generally clueless about, and this is less ignorance than the fact that (understandably) we’re just not privy to many of the private conversations and thoughts white people have when we’re not around. With this and our newly discovered audience in mind, I’ve decided to reach out to our non-black brethren and give them a bit of an opportunity to quell some of our genuine curiosities. Since we’re all fam and sh*t, they shouldn’t mind filling out a few questionnaires.
1. Do you think and talk about us as much as we think and talk about you?
The fact that there are places in this country (sh*t, in my county) were whites can go weeks, even years without seeing a black person in person has always made me curious if we come up as much in their private conversations as they do in ours, and if we receive the “Mad Men” treatment (we exist, but, well, that’s about it)
For the record, I’m not implying we’re a bit too obsessed with what white people say and do, but we’re a bit too obsessed with what white people say and do.
2. Is there a person whose art induces as much of a stark difference in opinion from “educated” whites as Tyler Perry does from “educated” blacks?
My guess is that this answer will be either Dane Cook, Sarah Silverman, Stephenie Meyer, or Judas Iscariot.
3. “Why are (an admittedly small but still sizable percentage of) you all so obsessed with being able to say “nigger”?
Forget about whether it’s hypocritical that many of us regularly incorporate nigga in our daily lexicon but refuse to allow other races to use it, there are a little over 500,000 words in the English language (750,000 if you include Pittsburghese); what’s the big f*cking deal with just not ever saying one of them? I really don’t understand what the big deal is.
Again, I know this question only applies to a small percentage of whites, but it just reminds me of a 8 year old who’s upset that has to go to bed an hour earlier than his 12 year old brother, even though he doesn’t actually have a reason or purpose for being up that extra hour.
4. What’s the deal with young white women and cigarettes?
I know this is completely anecdotal, but out of the dozens of 21 to 35 year old black women I know, exactly two of them are regular cigarette smokers. On the flip side, of the twenty or so 21 to 35 year old white women I know, I can only name two definite non-smokers.
I’m sure there’s some sociological reason for this, but for now I’m content to assume it’s all Bea Arthur’s fault.
5. We know how black men feel about being stereotyped as violent and hyper-sexual and how black women feel about being thought of as perpetually aggressive and antagonistic, but how do white men feel about being stereotyped by many as the root, cause, catalyst, and impetus behind all the world’s evils?
That just seems like such a bummer. Seriously though, I know some white men must want occasionally want to pull a Michael Clarke Duncan in Talladega Nights and just start screaming “Don’t you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby! Don’t you put that on us! You are NOT paralyzed!”
6. Generally speaking, are you as concerned with definitions of “whiteness” and staying true to it as many of us are with blackness?
I think I know the answer to this already (“Huh? What? Heavens no.“), but I still needed to ask.
7. Aside from what’s usually cited (black music, soul food, the exuberance exhibited at many of our churches, Tracy Morgan, etc) is there anything about African-American culture you genuinely envy?
One of my college teammates once told me he really admired how close-knit many extended black families were. More specifically, he was really envious of how 2nd and 3rd cousins are just as close to many of us as siblings traditionally are. This teammate is now a (part-time) male stripper. I wonder if there’s any correlation.
8. Do you code-switch?
If you have no idea what code-switching is, nevermind, and forget I even asked this question.
9. Why don’t most of you all seem to be as scared to death of harmless germs as we are?
To their credit, although we tend to joke about how (many) whites seem to not care about exposing themselves to the elements, the worst that can come from these lax tendencies are an occasional cold, bout with mono, or particularly nasty case of amoebic dysentery. On the flipside, we (black people) would sooner die than allow someone to share our beer, but we’re strangely still unafraid of AIDS.
10. Kate Moss? No, seriously: Kate Moss?
Somewhere out there in cyberspace, there’s a white blogger writing a piece titled “Questions You’ve Always Wanted To Ask a Black Person”, and “10. Buffie The Body? No, seriously: Buffie The Body?” is at the end of his list.
That’s it for me, VSB, but I’m curious: Do you have any questions you’ve always wanted to ask a white (or any other non-black) person?
Remember, the purpose of this post is to create discussion, and people are more likely to actually answer insightful and genuinely curious questions than condescending and disparaging ones.
Bad Question: “What’s up with ya’ll letting your bad and nasty ass kids run around through WalMart without their leashes?”
Better Question: “It seems like white parents are generally more laid back than we are with the way you discipline your children. Is this a stereotype? If not, do you have any theories about why this is?”
Also, whites and other non-blacks reading this, you’re part of the crew now too. Is there anything you’ve ever wanted to ask a black person but was scared to ask?
Don’t be scurred. We’re all family here.
***Please be advised that while I’ve asked you to think of a few questions, this will not turn into a “Let’s say all the foul sh*t we can about white people” insult-fest. Any undoubtedly and stupidly racist comment or question will show me you obviously didn’t read the post (or just ignored this warning) and your comment will be deleted. Thanks in advance.***