I have heard “You Are the Whitest Black Guy I Know” all of my life and I must admit it used to disturb me quite a bit. Fortunately, over time I have learned to ignore the statement and at times actually embrace it as a compliment. In reality, the statement is usually meant to be an innocent joke by most, but others intend it to be an insult. Regardless of who makes the statement, it has always been perceived by me to be an insult. I am a victim of the American dream that my parents worked very hard to make come true.
Is it my fault that I grew up in the suburbs and the daily struggles of inner city life are difficult for me to relate to? Or was I wrong to have a best friend that remained in contact with me from the age of five well into my thirties that was Caucasian?
Most of my youth was spent playing in the woods, fishing, building forts, riding bikes, camping, hunting with a BB gun, and etc. I belonged to the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts until the age of sixteen. My parents sent me to summer camp every year and sometimes two different camps if I requested so. I had no idea how expensive the camps where until later in life, but they made the sacrifice for me every year. So I this ideal white picketed fence environment turned me into the statement “You Are the Whitest Black Guy I Know”.
Everyone is the product of their environment, no more, no less. If I grew up in a primarily Chinese community, the statement would then be, “You Are The Most Chinese Black Guy I Know”. People need to get over themselves and their preconceived notions. To be 100% percent honest, I find it much more offensive to hear a black person make the statement than a white person. If Caucasians make the statement, I think to myself that I must not be ghetto enough to fit into their stereotypical view of a minority. But when an African American makes the statement, I just shake my head in shame and I wish they knew how ignorant they sounded.
I’ve had African American co-workers state, “You ain’t black” and I just look at them with an empty stare. I then look down at my mocha colored brown skin and wonder what the hell they are talking about. Rest assured, I am well aware that I am an African American male and have had my fair share of racially motivated confrontations.
I have had many uncomfortable conversations with African Americans and Caucasians over the years concerning basketball. Both races have tried to use the sport as a bonding point with me, but the conversation goes downhill because I genuinely dislike the sport. Ironically, my childhood best friend Lee loved basketball and actually had a little basketball court built in his backyard in front of their shed. He always tried to get me to play, but I usually passed on the game and did something else. I guess if you are black you must like basketball, but you get to have a choice if you are white. Pathetic.
Music is also a sensitive subject for me because I love it all; Hip Hop, Reggae, Rock, Punk, and Classical. Not a fan of country, so maybe that’s my saving grace. I enjoy listening to Third Eye Blind equally to DMX. And don’t get me started on the Violent Fems, but that’s old school at this point. When people learn that I like all forms of music, I often hear that “You Are the Whitest Black Guy I Know”.
Why would an African American or any other so called minority acknowledge and play into the stereotypes that others have created? So much division amongst ourselves when there should be unity to overcome the obstacles placed in front of us that were established by previous generations. Why can’t people just be individuals since we live in one of the largest melting pots in the world? I truly hope that someday I find the answer to these perplexing questions.
I make no apologies or excuses for my speech, mannerism, or cultural diversity. Why do people feel that they can make disparaging statements without thinking about the context of the words coming out of their mouths? When I hear the statement “You Are the Whitest Black Guy I Know “. I always wonder exactly how that individual expects an educated respectful African American male to behave. It has become apparent to me that some people are actually giving me insight into their minds and how our relationship should proceed forward.
If you ever happen to hear or want to say, “You Are the Whitest Black Guy I Know “, stop and think what actually is being said and how you are being portrayed to the individual that is the brunt of your little joke.