Friday, February 8, 2019

Dear White People



I love to hear someone romanticizing the era of their youth. They fondly reminisce of a simpler time when everyone knew their neighbors, gay people hadn't been invented yet and steak was considered heart healthy. This is almost always followed by a rant about how the world is going to hell because school prayer has been outlawed, or because cursive writing is no longer being taught, or because Google. Then I get to shit all over their romanticized youth. And that's a lot of fun for me. I get to say things such as:

“Damn. I missed the Holocaust. What a neat and exciting time to be alive. I hope I get the chance to witness the slaughter of six million people in my lifetime.”

Or:

“Yeah, I heard the sixties were great. All those assassinations and race riots. And separate water fountains for whites and “colored.” What happened with that water fountain thing? Everyone drinks bottled water now, so I'm not sure if the whole water fountain thing was ever resolved. Also, the music sucked. Bob Dylan is a pothead, not a genius.”

Or:

“I don't know how the human race survived the seventies. Men were so ugly back then. It's true. Watch any TV show or movie from the seventies and try to find a good looking man. It can't be done.”

And now, thanks to the racist bullshit in the Virginia government I can look fondly back on my own childhood and say, “Ah, the eighties. A time when people were nostalgic for blackface.”

For those who haven't been following the news, I shall sum up what's happening. Last week a college yearbook photo was circulated of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in blackface standing next to a man in a Klan outfit. I assume it was a man. The face was covered so it could have been a woman, but I don't think even a racist woman would wear such an ugly outfit. The governor immediately put out a statement that was all like, “Shit. Sorry. I was an idiot back when I was in medical school. That was fucked up.”

The next day Governor Northam gave a press conference where he said, “Okay, so I called some of my college buddies last night and they said it wasn't me in the picture. So I'm going to take back my apology. But there was one time in 1984 when I put shoe polish on my face to look like Michael Jackson for a dance contest. It didn't work. People didn't believe Michael Jackson would enter a dance contest at a medical school in Virginia.”

A reporter who is clearly in the wrong profession asked the governor if he could do the Moonwalk. The governor asked his wife for permission to Moonwalk. She said no. 


The governor further stated he only used a little shoe polish because it's hard to get off. Which is something you would only know if you've had a previous experience with shoe polish on your face. It's disturbingly stupid to think an ambitious medical student in 1984 wouldn't know wearing blackface is wrong. It's also really bad for his pores. As a general skincare rule, you should never use shoe products on your face.

Following the Moonwalk press conference most decent people called for the governor to step down. But he was all like, “No. I'm not going anywhere and you can't make me.”

Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax would become the governor if Governor Northam stepped down. However, immediately after the Moonwalk incident Fairfax was accused of sexual assault by a college professor he met at the DNC in 2004. Fairfax claimed the encounter was consensual, then he went out and hired the same attorneys who represented Brett Kavanaugh. So this motherfucker is dead to me.

On MSNBC people were debating which is worse: blackface or sexual assault. I think they are equally heinous. However, some woman said blackface isn't a crime. She's right. It's not a crime. Shoving a lit candle up your ass is not a crime, but most people know not to do it.


Virginia State Attorney General Mark Herring would become governor if both Governor Northam and Lt. Governor Fairfax stepped down. Knowing he was already fucked, Herring held a press conference where he announced there is a picture of him in blackface in his 1980 college yearbook.

Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox would become governor if Governor Northam, Lt. Governor Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring all stepped down. Kirk Cox won his seat by guessing how many jelly beans were in a jar or something like that. The race was tied and when a race is tied in Virginia they revert to carnie rules.

Since the Virginia Moonwalk, more blackface yearbook photos from the eighties have been uncovered in various schools and states. Which really makes me wonder about the school officials who allowed these to be published. If I may offer a bit of advice to any recent high school graduates: Before applying to a college, check to see if the college of your choosing is now, or has ever been, cool with blackface. If you find a school has an open blackface policy, then it's probably not the best place to get an education.

The Virginia Moonwalk also caused me to wonder how I missed the blackface that was apparently so prevalent in the eighties. My sister brought up the time our brother dressed as Michael Jackson for Halloween in 1984. He didn't wear blackface. Because five-year-olds don't know blackface is a thing. And it never occurred to him to put shoe polish on his face to dress as Michael Jackson. Because five-year-olds don't own shoe polish.


When I looked at the picture his bowl cut made me think of Joey Lawrence on Gimme A Break. And then I remembered a Very Special Episode of Gimme A Break where Joey wore blackface. As a matter of fact, that was the first time I'd ever heard of blackface. Coincidentally, the episode aired in 1984.

If you're under forty, you're probably all like, “What the fuck is Gimme A Break?” I'll tell you. Gimme A Break was sitcom starring Nell Carter, a black woman. Nell's best friend, a white woman, died. Dead White Woman's final wish was for Nell to move in with her white husband and children to raise her family. It's a stupid premise, but that was basically every sitcom in the eighties. Orphaned black kids raised by white people. Orphaned white kids raised by black people. Lots of Very Special Episodes. Rinse and repeat. 


After I remembered Gimme A Break, I was reminded of a Very Special Episode of Diff'rent Strokes which gave us Dana Plato in blackface. 


Diff'rent Strokes made me think of this really awful movie from 1986 called Soul Man. C. Thomas Howell plays a rich white kid who wants to go to Harvard. At the last minute, his dad is all like, “Fuck you. I'm not paying for Harvard. I'm buying a boat or something.” But C. Thomas Howell really wanted to go to Harvard, so he took the next obvious step and applied to a scholarship meant for African American students. He took a bunch of tanning pills. I don't if tanning pills are a real thing, but if they are they can't be good for you. He put on some additional brown make up, a Jheri Curl wig and fooled Harvard into giving him the scholarship. Next we are treated to some cringe worthy moments, such as this:



And this:


C. Thomas Howell goes to Harvard in blackface and learns life was much easier as a rich white kid. Which, I guess, was the whole point of the movie, but I feel like most people already knew that. He falls in love with the black girl who should have received the scholarship he stole. In the end, he comes clean, gets the girl and James Earl Jones tells him he doesn't have to give the money back. What the fuck, James Earl Jones? He was rich and he stole from you. Come on. Also, Julia Louis Dreyfus was in this movie. Weird.


The entire premise of this movie is racially inappropriate, but I really fucking hate the title. Because now I will never be able to hear the song Soul Man without thinking of the movie Soul Man. Fucking white people ruin everything.

This made me remember Ted Danson wore blackface to the Roast of Whoopi Goldberg.  Whoopi said it was her idea. And this is where I'd like to offer some advice to any white people considering blackface. One black person doesn't speak on behalf of all black people. Just because Whoopi Goldberg thought it was funny doesn't mean all of Africa America will want to see Ted Danson in blackface.

After careful review I have concluded sitcoms are responsible for the prevalence of blackface in the eighties. This is why romanticizing your youth is dangerous. You completely block out all the racist shit until a Moonwalking incident in Virginia forces you to think about it.

The Virginia Moonwalk has been a delight for republicans as Northam, Fairfax and Herring are all democrats. Jelly Bean Speaker Cox is a republican. Republicans are so happy about a democrat scandal they're totally pissing themselves. And my fellow liberals have been responding to the republicans with things such as, “The racist acts of Donald Trump are too numerous to name them all and you have no problem with that. You have no problem with babies in dog kennels. You backed that pedophile in Alabama. And Brett Fucking Kavanaugh.”

While I understand you're just pointing out the hypocrisy of the republicans in power, I'm going to need you to stop it. Because it sounds like you're defending democrat racists and rapists and that's not really the message we want to send. Remember when the Access Hollywood tape was released and Trump's “apology” was basically, “Whatever. Bill Clinton is worse than me.” We need to be better than that.

When the pants pissing republicans get all up in your cookies and cream about the VA democrats, you should say, “You're right. They are deplorable people and they have to go. Even if it means we have to revert to carnie rules. I'm willing to do that for the good of my country. Because I'm better than you.” Never miss an opportunity to remind Trump supporters you're better than them.


Namaste, Bitches


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