The Whitest Black Guy You Know

Full disclosure: I don’t enjoy talking about myself, in real life or on the internets, so enjoy this while it lasts.

I labeled this as a rant, but I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as one. It’s actually something that I just need to get off my chest, which tends to be the origin of most of my blatherings on this site. Let’s get right to it. Those of you who know me in the non-internet world, I want to make something clear that I probably never have until now. When you say to me, “You’re the whitest black guy I know”, it really fucking pisses me off, whether you say it in jest or not. I can’t stand when people say that shit to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that over the years, but I’ll say dozens and that won’t be inaccurate. I’ve gotten it from both white and black people, but mostly white people. Allow me to explain why I’ve decided enough is enough.

I called someone out at work recently (a white guy) when I overheard him and another dude (a black guy) agreeing that Lil Wayne was the best rapper alive. I politely reminded him that Eminem was, in fact, still alive, and released a fantastic album just last year. The white guy’s reaction to their opinion being challenged was not to engage in a debate over who was right, but to say, and I’m paraphrasing a bit, “What do you now about rap? You’re the whitest black guy I know. Stick to movies.” I think that was the last straw, and I didn’t realize it until I got home that night and thought about just how ignorant that statement was, and how offensive similar statements have been throughout my life.

I wasn’t bothered by the fact that a white guy was dismissive of my opinion. After all, the fact is that white people represent the vast majority of rap artists’ paying customers, despite the fact that most rappers are black. No, my problem was this guy’s assumption that because my personality wasn’t “black” enough for him, I obviously couldn’t speak to who the best rapper alive might be.

I’m not easily offended, and when I am, I don’t typically show it outwardly. I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, and I don’t take a lot of shit from people, but I’m also not really confrontational, mostly because I don’t like the awkward aftermath and drama that usually follows. I’m very much in control of my emotions, so if I lash out, it’s for good reason. I’ve never yelled at anybody who’s called me white, or anybody who’s called me the whitest black guy they know, but I think I might start to in the near future, because when I really started to think about what that implies from the people saying it, it seems right that I should be offended.

Let’s be clear. I’m half-black and half-white. My mom is white, my dad is black. If I’m ever asked on an official document what my ethnicity is, I always put down “black.” Because no matter how I speak or behave, if you just look at me, I can’t really say I’m Caucasian now, can I? And I’m sure as shit not gonna say I’m brown or list myself under “Other”. So, just as we call Tiger Woods black, just as we call Derek Jeter black, and just as we call Barack Obama black, I too am black. Yes, my skin is literally brown, but “brown” isn’t a race of people. Mexicans aren’t brown, they’re Mexicans. Asians aren’t “yellow” (neither is their skin, by the way), they’re Asian. Ya get me?

SIDEBAR: I’m also not “African-American”, thank you very much. That’s politically correct bullshit from white lefties who think calling a black person “black” is somehow inappropriate. Why don’t you let each individual decide what offends them instead of imposing your cowardly p.c. sensibilities on our entire culture? I’m not African-American any more than my white friends are European-American. If you have to go back more than 5 generations to find an African slave in my ancestry, I’m not African anything.

What was I saying again? Oh yeah…

Yes, nearly all of my close friends are white, and yes, I grew up around mostly white kids. Yes, the majority of women I’m attracted to are white or lighter skinned. Yes, my white mother was the only parent I had at home for most of my life, and yes, my white mother’s side of my family is basically all I’ve known my entire life. I’m not ignorant enough to say that those facts didn’t shape my interests or how I’ve presented myself over the years. At the same time, I’m neither proud of nor ashamed of these things. As they say, it is what it is. I am what I am, both outside and in.

What prompts people to say “You’re the whitest black guy I know” to me? If I had to guess based on experience, I’d say it’s primarily because of the way I speak, which is simultaneously understandable (to a point) and mystifying. I don’t talk like most black people my age. I get that. It’s always been that way. But that’s because of my upbringing! It isn’t because I’m not really “black”. I don’t use ethnic slang. I don’t use street lingo. When I go to shake someone’s hand, I opt for a regular old manly hand shake, not a juvenile 3-tiered, half-hug, 4-finger clutch greeting. I don’t listen to rap 100% of the time. Although I do love good rap and hip-hop, it’s probably 4th or 5th down the list of my favorite musical genres, after film scores, electronic music and…GASP, rock. I’m a black guy who loves John Williams, Hans ZimmerMetallica, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails and Above & Beyond more than I love Tupac or Lil Wayne. Fucking deal with it. If you don’t know who any of those people are, it doesn’t make me lame, it means you have very narrow musical taste. In the end though, I think it all goes back to the way I speak. And here I was thinking that all of us are taught to speak proper English if we want to be taken seriously in life.

I do understand that in the vast majority of instances where people have said to me, “You’re the whitest black guy I know”, those people have been joking around or just messing with me, and that they didn’t mean offense by it. But what those people don’t understand is that kidding or not, there’s subtext in play. Kidding or not, you said it because of your own preconceived notion of what is and isn’t normal behavior for a “black” person. That reflects poorly on you, not me. When did speaking articulately, writing with accurate spelling, and using multi-syllabic words in everyday conversation become trademarked by white people? That’s where I take offense, and frankly, where all black people should take offense. Do you guys have a patent on proper English that I can look up? Is “dressing like a civilized adult” copyrighted by Whitey McWhiterson? Am I subject to an infringement lawsuit if the wrong white guy decides I’ve overstepped my boundaries as a black person?

I’m not prone to playing the race card and I hate when otherwise intelligent people do, but to me, “you’re the whitest black guy I know” is a racist statement. Don’t call me “white” because I can form two consecutive sentences that make sense. Don’t call me “white” because I notice when you’ve spelled something wrong, or because I know the difference between “their”, “there”‘ and “they’re”. No matter what color you are, it’s permissible to treat the English language with some respect. I dare say that should be the expectation of everybody in high school and above, regardless of color. And shame on any black person who chooses not to speak properly because they don’t want to appear “white”. Intelligent conversation is not a “white” thing. Being smart is not a “white” thing.

When you think of a black guy, do you only imagine the clichés of some random urban thug? A guy wearing clothes 4 sizes too big, pants at his thighs, long chains around his neck, walking with a limp even though there’s nothing wrong with his leg? Perhaps you imagine a guy with no job who smokes marijuana 7 days a week? A guy who drives a Cadillac with tinted windows, an expensive sound system, and 22″ chrome rims who can barely form a complete sentence? If THAT is what you think black is, or should be, then it’s you who has a problem. YOU. Because guess what? There are millions of white, Latino and Asian kids who fit those descriptions, too. That kind of lifestyle favors no skin color. It’s determined by where you live, your own self-motivation, and who you choose to hang out with. Or, as a smart white person might call it: socioeconomics.

Look at this nigga!

I can debunk some of those clichéd descriptions with my own life story. I used to live in an area where that kind of thug/urban/saggy-pants lifestyle was available to me, even tempting me from time to time. BUT, I actively chose not to hang out with those people. I grew up near downtown Framingham, Massachusetts, in an area that became increasingly and noticeably less white as I got older. Many of my neighbors were black and Latino kids, and that area now is almost entirely occupied by illegal aliens “undocumented immigrants”, including, from what I understand, my childhood home. Anyway, I didn’t hang out with the neighborhood kids a whole lot, but when my siblings and I did, it was mostly to play basketball or some other sport in the driveway or the local park.

I can remember one day in particular when I was, I wanna say 15, and it was me, my brother, a couple of Latino kids and a black kid all playing ball on the hoop we had in my driveway. For the most part, I’m the same person now as I was then as far my interests go, but at that time I was still very impressionable as to how I should dress and speak to fit in with the cool kids. You know, things I don’t care one bit about now that are vital to you as a teenager. At one point during a game, I randomly called the black kid (who was at least 2 years younger than me) ‘nigga’. You know, one of those, “I didn’t foul you, nigga” type things. It was the first time in my life I’d ever used that word casually and unintentionally. It just came out of me. And the strangest thing happened. It was as though internally, I’d realized I had just reached the edge of a cliff, and I had a decision to make before I fell over it. Even at that young age, I immediately realized that that wasn’t me and decided right then and there I’d never say it again in that context. Was I about to become one of those kids? No, this is not what I want. That was literally the only time I’ve said that in my entire life, and in the moment it wasn’t even a big deal. As is the case now, urban kids call each other ‘nigga’ all the time. It was no different then, except it meant something to me. I knew instantly that I didn’t want to get comfortable using that word. Needless to say, it’s a decision I’m quite happy with to this day.

In fact, the word ‘nigga’ is apparently thrown around even more casually today. I’ve seen white girls calling other white girls ‘nigga’ on Facebook, which is about as ignorant as it gets. But that’s another rant for another day.

In the end, I suppose my simple thesis is that I don’t believe the color of your skin should define you. Yet for far too many people, it seems it still does. That worries me. I don’t think race should determine your personality traits, or the way you dress, or what your interests are. Maybe that’s the silly closet liberal in me talking. I don’t deliberately not hang out with or befriend black people because it makes me uncomfortable. At the same time, I’m nobody’s “token black friend”, either. Maybe it’s your perception of what black ought to be that’s screwed up, not my behavior or the way I speak as a black man. Please consider that the next time you have the urge to call me white. Think before you speak. It’ll do you wonders.

The self-defense rests.




10 Responses to “The Whitest Black Guy You Know”

  1. 2 That Bastard October 12, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    No, wrong prize. This should be the right one:

  2. 4 Jamie Rudat October 12, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    I’m not sure if I ever referred to you as “the whitest black man I know.” My first remembrance is that I haven’t, but my CPU could be wrong. In any case, I apologize if I ever have. Since I first met you, I’ve done some rewiring and suffice to say, I enjoy reading your stuff. It matters not what your skin color only that you’re a movie geek…just like me. 🙂


    Thanks for the credit for getting you into NIN. Anytime buddy. 🙂

    • 5 Biggie October 13, 2011 at 1:33 AM

      It’s okay, my man. I don’t think you ever did, either. Regardless, like I said, it wasn’t until just recently that I thought about it and realized just how much (and why) it angers me.

      And thank YOU for introducing me to NIN, what, 13 years ago now? It’s funny looking back now at just how great “The Fragile” double-disc album is. That’s the album that got me into them, and I remember it came out while we were in school.

  3. 6 Chris M December 6, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    If it makes you feel any better, I actually know two black guys way whiter than you. Even though one of them is gay. Ha ha.

    Sorry to hear about that, man. That is pretty fucking weak. And his obviously racial ignorance aside, he just straight out dismissed an outside opinion that didn’t align with his own. Regardless of the racial circumstances behind it, that’s just the sign of a terrible terrible human being, one who refuses to open their mind to anything resembling an “outside” perspective. And it’s that mindset where things like racism and xenophobia begin. Boo on him, and good on you.

  4. 7 Hotell Karon Beach January 14, 2014 at 6:46 PM

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  5. 8 Jonah July 19, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    You have basically described my position as it’s stands for me in life and am rejoiced that I’m not the only black man that thinks the “hood life” isn’t cool.

  6. 9 歯 黄ばみ 取る方法 October 26, 2016 at 12:22 AM

    管理人さん、コンニチワ。わたしのホームページでは、歯のホワイトニングについての説明をしています。歯自分の歯自分自身の歯前歯『は』の黄ばみヤニ汚れきばみ黄色さ黒ずみクスミ汚さ黄色で汚さが気になる。歯自分の歯自分自身の歯前歯『は』の黄ばみヤニ汚れきばみ黄色さ黒ずみクスミ汚さ黄色で汚さは自宅家うち自分自宅のケアセルフケアで取れるのか?正解はイエスです。ワタシわたし管理人ぼく僕ワタシ自身は自宅家うち自分自宅のケアセルフケアで歯自分の歯自分自身の歯前歯『は』の黄ばみヤニ汚れきばみ黄色さ黒ずみクスミ汚さ黄色で汚さを取り取り除きキレイにし落とし汚れを落とし綺麗にしてピカピカにして、白くする真っ白にする黄ばみを落とす透明感ある白にすることが出来ました。歯医者でするwhiteニングオフィスホワイトニングデュアルホワイトニングホワイトニングはお金がかかり、手間がかかるのでワタシわたし管理人ぼく僕ワタシ自身はおすすめオススメお勧めしません。自宅家うち自分自宅のケアセルフケアで安全に歯自分の歯自分自身の歯前歯『は』を白くする真っ白にする黄ばみを落とす透明感ある白にする。『歯』のホワイトニングは歯医者さんで施術するやり方や、じたくでするほうほうがあります。歯医者で行う場合は、ホームホワイトニングやオフィスホワイトニングというのが基本的です。家ではホワイトニング歯磨き粉を使ったり、歯のホワイトニングジェルを使います。歯が黄色くなる理由は、通常の食事も関係あります。タバコや緑茶も歯が黄ばむ訳です。歯はホワイトニングをしたとしても毎日黄色くなるので、継続的にホワイトニングをする必要があります。クリニックで行うホワイトニングですが、手間とマネーがかかります。また、ホワイトニング歯磨き粉の場合は、歯を削って歯をキレイにするホワイトニング手法なので、長い目で見ると歯が傷つき、黄ばむワケを作ると言われています。しっかりとしたホワイトニングの手法を知ったり、歯が汚れるげんいんを知ることが実は重要な事です。私のweb サイトでは、歯が汚れない様に、また、歯を白くする方法についてをしっかりと解説しています。よろしければ参考にして欲しいと思います。かていでも歯はキレイにさせる事が可能です。

  7. 10 歯 ホワイトニング December 11, 2016 at 2:47 AM





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