“My black friends would have laughed”

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For my micro-aggressive meme I decided to use the “Scumbag” picture and a phrase that is relied upon too often, “racist comment, but I have (insert race) friends”. Some people will soften a racist statement by associating themselves on a friendly term with that specific race. It allows someone to say a racist comment but shows an association and an interpreted “love” for people of that race; it works as a “get out of jail free” card.

Growing up in a predominantly white town, I have personally heard people use this statement, which allows a very blatantly racist comment to be made and avoid any judgement from someone. Another interesting observation that I made in my town is that people would often whisper the word “Black” or “Asian”, as if it was a curse word. Racial categories seemed like insults or taboo, but people would claim “I have (race) friends”.

Recently, I was watching an episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and housewife, Brandi Glanville said “You’re a black person” to fellow housewife, Joyce Giraud, that did not want to get in the pool. Glanville followed up the shock amongst the group of women with, “It was a joke, and my black friends would have laughed crazy because they don’t go in the pool because they will [mess up] their weaves … All my black friends can’t swim.” The comments created an uproar on social media and Brandi responded below:

You decide, is Brani exempted from her comment because she has black friends?

 

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3 comments

  1. Your article brings up an important point. There should be no exceptions to the rule when it comes to racism. It doesn’t matter who you are associated with or even if you are of the race you are stereotyping. Making excuses while making micro-aggressions is only pulling us farther from a post-racial society.

  2. Although I am unfamiliar with the show that you are referencing, it does seem quite obvious that the comment that Brandi made was indeed racist. The number of stereotypes that she promotes is extremely ignorant and the fact that she would find it funny is even more so. For that reason, it seems very unlikely that such a person would have black friends. If by some chance she really does, she should realize the falsity of the stereotypes that she promotes and the repercussions of such promotion.

    Making excuses for racism only makes it more damaging and crass.

    Although I do not like to use this website, for I often find it unreliable, the article presents common excuses for racism and the problem with them: http://racerelations.about.com/od/diversitymatters/a/Five-Bad-Excuses-People-Give-When-Called-Racist.htm

  3. I can relate to your town because I grew up in a pre-dominantly white town as well although I did not find the issue of categories being considered a curse word. I understand how people make jokes about racism and say that “oh its only a joke” but I feel that people should cut down barely. Don’t get me wrong I do have a sense of humor, but I feel that if we want to achieve a pure post-racial society, we would have to cut off all cylinders that lead to stereotypes and ideas for others to put down ethnic groups.

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