Lists, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

The “I’m Lucky I’m Black” Passes: Things Black People “Get Away With” That Others Can’t

There’s an episode of “Louie” — the hilariously awkward and awkwardly hilarious FX series starring comedian Louie C.K. — where a older male police officer asks Louie for a kiss. The cop had just gotten Louie out of a tight jam, and the kiss would be the reward for that service. Since the cop was rather cool about the request (and since the cop seemed rather desperate), Louie obliges, planting a kiss on his lips. The cop thanks him, and they go about their ways.

Now, in real life Louie C.K. is by all accounts a heterosexual family man. In fact, much of his act (and much of the show) is based on him being a father and husband. But, even if this wasn’t true, even if we knew absolutely nothing about his personal life, most (reading) adults realize that actors occasionally have to, well, act, and that cop kissing scene alone wouldn’t be enough to convince anyone that he was homosexual.

Louie C.K. is also white¹, and his whiteness allows him a certain peculiar privilege, a privilege my girl (who was watching the show with me) quickly observed.

“It’s weird. That scene didn’t make me think twice about whether he was straight. But, if a black male comedian did the exact same thing, I can’t lie; I’d question whether he was completely straight. I know it’s a ridiculous double standard, but it’s true”

Although that statement wasn’t exactly politically correct, she was completely correct. Men like Jake Gyllenhaal and Matt Damon can star in movies like “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and still be considered 100%  hetero, but black male actors aren’t afforded that same luxury. Sh*t, there are still bisexual rumors floating around about Will Smith, rumors stemming from a movie he did two decades ago.

This double standard goes beyond the silver screen. For instance, if I were to post some Facebook pics of a few white frat boys jokingly and drunkenly wrestling and hugging each other a bit too closely, your first thought would probably be “Eh. Typical crazy college white boys.” If these frat boys were black, however, the thought changes from “typical frat boys” to “typical Mean Girls of Morehouse.”

This, this pretend gay” pass, is one of the myriad passes unique to white people, not as game-changing as the get an easy bank loan” pass but definitely much more useful than the ultra annoying if college aged, allowed to end every single sentence with an interrogative inflection” pass

But, since we’re already aware of the hundreds of thousands of “white” passes, I’m actually more curious about the “black” passes — things black people can get away with that whites (and other races) just can’t — and I thought of a few.

The “say somewhat insensitive things about other races and still feel no real repercussions” pass

Let’s just say that if I founded a website called VSR (Very Smart Rednecks) and allowed black people to be referred to as “1613’s” (Why 1613? Because the 16th letter in the alphabet is “P” and the 13th is “M,” and the PM stands for “Porch Monkeys”) in the comment’s section of said site, I most likely wouldn’t have made business cards advertising the VSR, I probably wouldn’t be so quick to put my real name on the cover of the VSR relationship book, and I definitely wouldn’t have rocked a Very Smart Rednecks t-shirt yesterday evening while taking some black people on a tour of my apartment.

The “beat our kids in public” pass

At the extra snooty Whole Foods two blocks down the street from my place, I once saw an entire checkout line full of people stare down and ice grill a woman just because she forcefully grabbed the arm of her out of control child.

At the much more hood Giant Eagle a mile or so away, I once saw an entire checkout line nod their heads in appreciation and admiration as a woman forcefully choke slammed her not really all that out of control child.

The “I’m a grown ass man/woman who still needs some “time” before I’m ready to get married, and it’s perfectly ok” pass

Um, moving on…

The “wait, did you call me a n*gger???” pass

Donald Glover actually joked about this in one of his stand-ups, but once a black person has been the real (or perceived) victim of any type of racial injustice, we basically have carte blanche to do whatever the hell we want. Seriously, you can go to an Apple store and take a piss and full dump on every iPad, but not only would you get off if you tell the judge you thought Steve Jobs called you a n*gger, you’d probably be able to sue (and win!)

Anyway, people of VSB: did I forget anything? Can you think of any more “black” passes? Also, are there any “white” passes you’d trade one of your most valued black passes for?

¹He’s actually part Mexican, but since he looks white, that’s all that matters.
²Is this just a Pittsburgh-area thing, or do 18-25 year old white woman across the country all end each of their sentences with the same inflection they’d use if they were asking a question?

—The Champ


Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • Liz

    The “I’m still writing and editing this post even though I published it already” pass.

    Okay, maybe not.

    • Thereluctantsocialite


    • legitimate_soul

      Good one!

    • magnetforfoolishness

      LOL! That IS a good one…

    • NubianEmpress

      GET EM! lol.

    • Cheekie


    • Panama Jackson

      you ain’t right. in fact, by default, i think that makes you wrong.

      • Liz

        :) I couldn’t help it!

        Plus I just wanted to be first for once, and it’s the first thing that came to mind!

    • That Damn African

      *Method Man voice* Get ‘em!

    • Muze

      LMBO this is a pass Champ is heavily familiar with.

    • The Champ

      this entire thread can pass deez

      • Cheekie

        Do we puff-puff first?

  • AG
    • ChaoticDiva

      *dies slowly*

    • TheAnti-Cool

      Is the “S” supposed to stand for “smart”? Just askin’…

      • AG

        To smart people it’s stupid. To stupid people it’s smart :0)

        • Cheekie


        • Bengemin Grehe

          But of course, everybody thinks they’re smart. And therein lays the conundrum.

    • DetroitRockCity

      Nope, equation doesn’t work. This implies intelligence in the Tea Party.

      • Cheekie

        Well, the first one implied intelligence to Rednecks. lol

        •!/legitimate_soul legitimate_soul

          *visualizes “Cletus” from the Simpsons* BRANDINE!!!

  • DQ

    #3 The Victim pass? When did black people get that and why didn’t I get the memo?

    Someone let Rodney King know also, dude stays getting arrested on a regular. He should have plenty of Victim Equity left in his account.

    • kamakula

      The problem is that ten years ago, the man came out with a Victim Equity credit card. You know how things are, once you no longer have to write checks to access your account or goto the bank to withdraw, your balance goes down real quick. Heck, King now owes on the account from what I hear.

      • DQ

        It’ll go into collections then cause you know he ain’t paying it.

        • V Renee


        •!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

          DQ ain’t shyt!

  • Be On It

    hehehehehe, most of these are very true. Except if you say the letters as if they are a word, then 2520 isn’t the same as 1613. It’s only when you say them as separate letters that you get into being offensive, and frankly, it’s no where near the level of offensive as slurs for colored VSP.

    What was I talking about?

    Oh yes, the black people passes. I think black people have a “get out of a fight by talking big” pass with people of other races. I cannot tell you how many times the mere intimation that I can go Shmalaquieshenia on a fool has calmed the heck out of a reckless white/non-black woman. I don’t even have to go full ghetto, just throw out a line that it’s coming, and mess gets shut down quick.

    Just don’t try it on some crazy behind non-black chick raised in the hood, or the buckwild 2520 chick who is ready to prove her bonafides to faciliate her fudgepop appreciation activites.

    • Thereluctantsocialite

      This is true…we do get a “talk a lot of ish” pass…

    • ChaoticDiva

      *cosign* It has worked in my favor several times at the bar. These bishes don’t know.

      But let one of them try to actually fight me. I’ll probably throw a glass at their head hoping it hits em as I’m running out the door. Diva doesn’t need to catch a case…I got dreams and ish.

      • fifty six

        the “talking tons of ish pass”…priceless. We also get a “side eye pass”…what race of folks can give the most condescending looks and have it accepted as “You just have to know that ‘that’s Shakima'; she’s really sweet”

        • WIP

          Yes, I guess we do have an “eye roll, neck roll” pass.

    • Deeds

      Sometimes it doesn’t have to be talking a lot of ish. Sometimes I just have to stand there and be black, and some white folks will get scarred. I’ve been bumped into by white folks on accident and then it follows with them profusely apologizing.

      • Racqs

        Too true! I’m not the most menacing-looking black woman, but there have been instances where white women (usually older though) clutch to their white SO while passing me. I’ve also noticed that being one of two black grad students in my program means I’m not allowed to get angry (the opposite of the pass – maybe I’ll call it the fine). If I say something that is even perceived as antagonistic, I get the permanent label of the confrontational black woman. And I really don’t need that if I’m trying to leave this program in a timely manner. Outside the professional/academic setting though, this pass is definitely legit!

        • whykendra

          i can relate on the school front, if you are one of a few black students people think you are the angry black woman. which sucks because im extremely aggressive just in general when it comes to important things like education.

          • EmDottie

            Oh no wait, don’t let you be the ONLY Black person in a class. Then you get the “Pass to speak for an entire culture” whenever a ‘Black’ topic comes up…

            Side eye…. (Fist pump for the side eye pass!)

        • IET

          I’d call it a fine too. I think President Obama also talked about this in “Dreams” Just take it easy, don’t make too much noise or sudden movements lest you be perceived as a threat or angry.

          Sometimes I wonder if its just all in our head, or are 2520’s really as scared and paranoid as we think they might be?

          •!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

            It’s not in your head. The intimidation is very real even when it isn’t warranted. I believe that’s why they treat passive Black folks soooo badly when they realize that they are passive.

            • kingpinenut

              yep……they straight up eat fear for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all in between snacks…..

              • whykendra

                they are actually fearless. not one bead of sweat drops when it comes time to f*ck over black folk.

                they dont have to fight us in the street. what difference would it make.

                • kingpinenut

                  that same action takes place in their own circles too……

                  hence the laws created…

                  they sill operated from fear….based on a primarily materialistic view of the world.

                  one drop….make them us

          • resIpsa

            hah! they have EVERY right to be scared. they never know when they gonna run into a truly “crazy” black person and then it’s gonna be curtains fuh dey @zz. i’d be on my p’s an q’s too if i thought everyone with a tan had a gang affiliation as much as cats be dappin’ each other up and doing all kinds of finger aerobics. 2520s just ain’t tryna be a statistic or a “…details at 11″ news piece.

            • Taylormay

              lol. thanks for the laugh!

          • Deeds

            Sometimes I wonder if its just all in our head

            Naw, it’s not all in your head. I was reading an article on Slate I think it was about stereotypes, anyway, in the comments section, these folks had no problem that they stereotype black people, especially young black men and said that they felt nervous around them. Everyone was just agreeing with them.

            •!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

              One of the reasons why our black boys are struggling in school is because of this very reason. Research indicates that as our boys grow out of their baby looks and begin to look more mature, whyte teachers start to feel intimidated by them. This is the reason why there is such racial disproportionality in discilpine rates in our schools. Black males are typically discilplined more harshly than their whyte counterparts for te same infractions simply because intimidated teachers perceive the behaviors differently. When the whyte teacher sees a white male acting out in class, she doesn’t automatically feel threatened by him. Hell he reminds her of her son/nephew/little brother or whomever else she can see in this kids face and actions. However, when the black male exhibits the same behavior, he is removed from the classroom and given an office referral because the teacher felt threatened by his “aggressive” behavior. The other boy got a little rambunctious because he was passionate, so she handled it herself. We joke about these passes, but damn if they aren’t impacting our people in some very serious ways.

              • Meekoz

                That was deep to me. Somebody hand me a tissue….

              • Yoles


                i have one hand up and my face down like i am feeling the spirit in church

              • kingpinenut

                @ny2va damn straight

              •!/legitimate_soul legitimate_soul

                So true NY2VA,

                When I taught, all the kids in the principal’s office were black and male. Kids of other races could do the same thing, but get more opportunities to remain a part of the class or be met with more understanding. I saw the change happen from Kindergarten to 5th grade. I even observed a class and saw this brilliant black male in 1st grade ask a question and the teacher just get short with him because it was HIM. That’s why multi-cultural education and REAL diversity education is so necessary, because you have teachers who are human and still holding on to conscious and unconscious racial biases and perceptions. Those perceptions and biases are reiterated in many textbooks too, curriculums, etc. so the children are indoctrinated in it as well.

                I’m taking classes now that discusses all of these factors, so this comment was right on for me. Learning about this really makes me have an even higher level of respect for educators and aware of the barriers so many had to overcome.

                •!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

                  This is actually what I do in my school system. I LOVE my job. That’s why I don’t feel bad messing with VSB during the day either. Believe it or not, the perspectives voiced here are often very important in what I do. There have been a number of times during my professional development sessions when I’ve referenced a comment from a “blog that I frequent.” No our opinions are not gospel, but race is but a social construct anyway, so perceptions and beliefs really are everything in my work.

      • Bengemin Grehe

        Yes, but how about you bump into them and they still apologize. Or better yet, you step on their feet and they’re the ones that are sorry. I don’t even have to say anything. Always cracke me up in college.

      • ac dubois

        so true! eye-opening story, went to see a concert with coworkers and realized there was standing room only with a couple of occupied seats. my 2520 coworker was trying to nudge her way into a spot to stand so she could see the stage and the black lady sitting gave her the look and told her someone was “standing” there lol. she fell back and just couldn’t see the performance we all paid to see.

        later that evening, I get tired of not seeing the performance so I nudged my way in there and gave my worker space too. guess what, the black lady doesn’t say anything. my 2520 says, “its because your black that she didn’t say anything to you.” ooh the benefits of being a colored black girl

        almost immediately after I marked my territory, the other black lady left, no fight or anything. but I do wonder if that even mattered, two black women fighting ain’t really all that taboo and i don’t think either of us were particularly scared of the other

    • MsMelissa!

      the buckwild 2520 chick who is ready to prove her bonafides to faciliate her fudgepop appreciation activites.

      REALLY??? ROFL !

      • whykendra

        and those are the most annoying.

    • Aisha

      YESSS!! that is a big one…use it all the time lol

    • V Renee

      I don’t even have to go full ghetto, just throw out a line that it’s coming, and mess gets shut down quick .

      So true. Or as I’ve found, a mean mug will do the job too.

    • Panama Jackson

      I think black people have a “get out of a fight by talking big” pass with people of other races.

      which is why i love youtube and video sites. cuz every now and then you’ll catch a ninja getting his loudcap on to that one white boy who never got the memo about being a shook one. then he’ll mollywop dude.

      i appreciate good storylines. that is a good storyline.

      • Bengemin Grehe

        Dude, this happened right outside Bohemian two weeks ago. Not sure what incited the incident, I jus know that it was two black dudes with two black chicks, and a white dude and his girl. One of the black women started mouthing off and provoking stuff. Got in the white dude’s face as his girl tried to pull him away…

        Ummm, he wasn’t going for that, and proceeded to beat the shït out of both dudes in the middle of the street. As he walked off, the loud mouth still felt the need to chase him and further involve her dudes in more åss whooping. What cracked me up is that the one dude was bleeding, and still felt like talking shït after getting his face kicked in by an outnumbered white boy.


        • resIpsa

          dwl! this is why i love vsb. i feel like it’s equal parts foolishness, reality, hilarity, and friendship based on a semi-mutual experiences. the true essence of community.

        • Panama Jackson

          that sounds like hilarity. i can’t lie. i get mild enjoyment out of seeing certain ninjas getting their arses whooped.

        • whykendra

          it would have been better if someone had beaten down the loud mouth chick that started the fight.

        • Gem of the Ocean


          I think black people have a “get out of a fight by talking big” pass with people of other races.

          haha so funny you say this!!! me and my bestie used to say all the time that Coral from the Real World/Road Rules Challenge(s) used to think she could scare the white girls just because she was a loud black woman. talm about some “i dont fight, i beat b*tches down.” (O_O) chile please. you gon do not a damn thing. #SYAD.

          •!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

            Coral would have gotten whipped out around the way, but I LOVED the way she handled those chicks on TV..

            LMAO @ the #SYAD

          • The Champ

            “(O_O) chile please. you gon do not a damn thing. #SYAD.”

            she probably just would have slapped her with a titty

        • Mimi

          Reminds me of that YouTube video of that MMA fighter who beaten up some guy, because the guy had punched a woman.

    • SmartFoxGirl

      I love this pass. It works even better when you get close to their face and look them straight in the eyes. Dey get scurred

    • EmDottie

      “the buckwild 2520 chick who is ready to prove her bonafides to faciliate her fudgepop appreciation activites…”


  • Thereluctantsocialite

    “Let’s just say that if I founded a website called VSR (Very Smart Rednecks) and allowed black people to be referred to as “1613?s” (Why 1613? Because the 16th letter in the alphabet is “P” and the 13th is “M,” and the PM stands for “Porch Monkeys”)”

    This just killed me…

    • Tes

      And why did I have Uncle Ruckus in mind immediately after that?

      • MictheMessenger

        *Inserts Uncle Ruckus score underneath comment*

    • Girl Kanyeshrug

      don’t give 2520s ideas! LOL!!!!!!

  • Fatgrlatheart

    I know my immigrant behind uses the “I wasn’t born in this country” pass whenever I can.

    I.e. “oh that’s not how you pronounce that word?” or when I was trying to figure out the whole groundhog day thing and WTF that had to do with spring time coming or when people look at me all crazy when I don’t know some song or music group from the early 90s or earlier, etc etc.

    “whatever man I wasnt even born here!”

    • Girl Kanyeshrug

      SAME!!!!!!!!!! The Caribbean rules!

    • V Renee

      “oh that’s not how you pronounce that word?” .

      I think I may have to use your pass for cases like this. I’ve definitely been known to think a word is pronounced one way, and once I heard what I assumed was the correct way to say it, been caught off guard. But for all i know, them ninjas are pronouncing it incorrectly.

    • whykendra

      i often use the “i’m not really american” card. and i am really american. but black people can be as unpatriotic as all get out because its agreed by all races that the gubmint dont give a f*ck bout us no way.

      a black person could be excused from never voting if they give the simplest explanation. (and no matter what they say its probably true)

      • kingpinenut

        “black people can be as unpatriotic as all get out because its agreed by all races that the gubmint dont give a f*ck bout us no way.”

        daymn skippppppayyy……

        sh!t i won’t even fly the flag at my crib……

    • SmartFoxGirl

      GUILTY as charged!! Except I say “I’m American” when I need to and then “I’m Jamaican” when I need to. Straight flip floppin. lol

  • lawgirl

    hHow about the “angry” pass. Just blame the anger on years of oppression and enequalities.

    • Panama Jackson

      i think that comes with the “I Was Just Born A Black Baby,What Do I Do Now?” pamphlet.

      • Bengemin Grehe

        Yes, but they’re catching onto this one.

        • Panama Jackson

          that’s when happens when you write down stuff. its like rappers implicating themselves in their lyrics and liner notes.

        • Taylormay

          yeah the polite sympathy is just about gone

  • Tina

    Just a thought…but Louis c.k. is actually the randomest kind of white person bc he’s a ginger guy who by all acounts is white but in fact retains his mexican citizenship bc his dad is half mexican and in fact! spanish was his first language…Louie stays winning.

    • whykendra

      i know right!!! reminds of this boy i went to high school with who had bright red hair and pale skin…however his mother was puerto rican. very interesting.

  • Tori

    I have a friend who told me about this site and made me post…..

    I would trade my ability to do whatever I felt necessary if someone called me a n%$#&r, if I could be a medicore white person and still be extremely successful. It’s easy to find exceptional black people that get rewarded for their talent, but its hard to find average black people with the same success as average whites…

    • kid video

      @ Tori

      This is probably gonna be the best comment on this post.

      Chris Rock said something similar about being one of four black people who live in his neighborhood (Jay-Z, Whitney Houston, Eddie Murphy), but his white neighbor is a dentist.

      • MictheMessenger

        i saw that and #iDIED

      • WIP

        Can we get some more black dentists! I wonder how long it takes to become a dentist…

        • keisha brown

          it takes a while to become a dentist i believe. its being a specialized doctor.

          • WIP

            Ya, I Googled it, LOL. It’s 4 years, but after that you are a “doctor” and you can practice so it’s not that bad. Apparently new students are commonly moving from other professions. The cost of dental school is high though. Very interesting stuff

      • Racqs

        Yeah, the black dentist would have had to invent teeth to live there…. lmao. that was hilarious!

      • Yonnie 3000

        As soon as I read this comment, I thought about the Chris Rock quote: A black C student can’t do sh!t with his life. A black C student can’t be a manager at Burger King. Meanwhile, a white C student just happens to be the President of the United States. (referring to George W. Bush)

        • Muze

          LMBO. funny because it’s true. sad because it’s true.

      • Taylormay

        lol. i loved the part where he was talking at a school and he told a white boy “you can be anything you want to be” and he was like uh yeah (i’m white) i know!

    • Girl Kanyeshrug

      Your only recourse is to exceptional then..don’t fight it!

    • Panama Jackson

      white folks know it too…

      Average White Band anybody? they still had hits. LOL

      • j.ivy

        They weren’t average in the least!!

    •!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

      This is so damn true…

  • CurlyTop

    The “wear outrageous hairstyles” pass. I don’t mean rocking dreadlocks, natural hair, or a weave (which is fine) but ish like this:


    [Some]Black people get away with it for some reason. Back in the early 2000’s Christina Aguliera wore this messed up weave during the time Lady Marmalade came out and everyone was like O_O. But we let Rihanna get away with looking like Ronald McDonald and Carrot Top.

    • WIP

      Yes, I hate that stupid red hair. LOL. Black women definitely got outrageous hairdos on lock.

    • V Renee


      Although I can recall reading an article a couple of years ago, that said we consider hairstyles like that on black people hood/ghetto, but when 2520s do it, it’s considered artistic.

      I just tried to see if I could find the original article and couldn’t. But one came up for TheFreshXpress that stated the same thing:

      • Bengemin Grehe

        You know what, tho, I used to think it was hood/ghetto. But I think thas being a little too harsh. The older I get, the more I appreciate the colorful nature of black people in the states, because it reminds me a bit of what I see in African cultures. Perhaps thas a bit too deep, but I think a lot of the correlations between the two cultures are there.

        We’re expressive, and I think it’s only considered hood because of the perception that folks who rock colorful/crazy hairdos lack education. This may or may not be true, but regardless, it’s something I think about.

        • WIP

          I recently read a book that discussed this topic. It talked about how many females in african tribes create designs in their hair by molding it into shapes and using string and colors, so what black Americans do with their hair really isn’t that odd (I acknowledge the “african tribe” cliche).

          • Bengemin Grehe

            Sounds cool. What book is this?

            • WIP

              Tenderheaded. It’s a book about hair stories though; may not be your ‘cup-o-tea’ LOL

          •!/legitimate_soul legitimate_soul

            Yup! Genetic Memory, FTW!

        • whykendra

          it certainly indicates what kind of professions they AREN’T in. unless they are some type of artist/entertainer you can pretty much assume that they have a low paying job. honestly, even some fast food joints wouldnt let their cashiers wear their hair like some of the extreme styles we see in these streets. i bet those in the pictures were probably from some hair show but we’ve seen enough craziness in real life to not be shocked.

          • WIP

            Yes, when I see females with these hairdos I am wondering where in the hell they work?! The only places I see people working with those dos are in the hair store, hair salon and in the grocery store. My unemployed friend likes to get her hair done in some rainbow, unnatural-colored, ghetto-tastic creative hair styles and I had to let her know, “girl it’s cute but…aren’t you looking for a job?”

      • whykendra

        “Although I can recall reading an article a couple of years ago, that said we consider hairstyles like that on black people hood/ghetto, but when 2520s do it, it’s considered artistic”

        see: lady gaga

        • nilla wafer

          Misconception….Lady Gaga’s “style” is only artistic to entertainment types. All of the white people I know thinks her hair/make-up/clothes = ridiculous.
          Crazy color or cuts on white females tend to be thought of as punk or lesbian hair. While I find crazy hair on black women is viewed as normal.
          So it’s absolutely a pass. Crazy long nails however can be a different story.

        • CurlyTop

          Amen tho. That photo with the Asians up thread has thinking…
          Koreans imitate the hell out of African-American culture and no one makes any noise about it but when La’Kesha wears green extensions, listens to rap, and likes soul food she is “ghetto”. I hate that word so much and its improper usage.

          Lady Gaga gets a free “she on crack” pass from most of us.

          Bengemin Grehe I agree that we are an expressive group of people but sometimes we take it to a:


          Lines that should not be crossed are crossed and our expression is misinterpreted. Too bad it is always stolen tho, but an other group of people who popularize it while making us seem below them.