Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An Open Letter to "You People."

To the Black people of America
Black People Land
United States

Dear Negroes

I'm not sure exactly if I should use that word, but most of the history books I've read use it at times, and I want this to be factual. My name is Eton Binderhurst IV, and I am formally applying for my "magical white boy" pass.

As you all may know, I have been a friend of black people for years. It began in elementary school when I befriended the only black kid in my Sixth Grade class and invited him to play basketball with us at lunch so he would be welcome. I even explained to my other friends that he was cool to hang out with and not angry or mean at all. I really liked that black kid. He had this cool wavy hair that was great to touch and much nicer than my normal, straight brown hair.

In high school, I played on the football team with several African Americans. I would even offer to tutor some of them in the off season so they could stay eligible, but none of them had rides to the library. Instead, they wanted me to come to their neighborhoods. I didn't have a problem with going to their 'hoods, but my mom would have worried about the car.

In college, I dated a black girl because I wanted everyone to know that color wasn't important. Initially, it didn't seem like our relationships would work, (she got really angry when I told her that Ashley didn't seem like a black name), but together we got past her bitterness towards white people and really connected. She even came home for Christmas one year, but that just turned into another fight when I introduced her as "my friend from school." I explained to her that my grandparents could sometimes be a little racist and that's why I didn't call her my girlfriend, but she got all "angry" and whatnot. Eventually, it was too much work trying to figure out where she was coming from and we just broke up.

Now, I consider myself a stridently colorblind and open-minded white guy with a great love and appreciation for black culture. I've seen Friday more times than any white guy I know, plus I still have a framed picture of Martin Luther King Jr. in my bathroom. Of course I'm supporting Obama, and I really think he will move us past all the racial divisions in this country.

All these factors are why I think I deserve a "magical white boy" pass. See, too often conversations between blacks and whites get derailed because black people take offense at statements that are based in the reality of being white. People claim that want to have open, honest discussions, but as soon as you bring up the need to make Affirmative Action class-oriented, or ask why black people don't like education, the whole exercise turns into another round of whitey bashing.

Now, I know that black people have a special connection to each other, a special bond that allows them think and act in unison at times. How else can you explain their love of gangsta rap and sagging pants? I also know that there are certain white people who can say just about anything to their black friends without repercussions. Consequently, I know that there must be some sort of special pass that allows white people this ability, and I would respectfully request one.

Look, I have tons of black friends. I'm always talking to the black guy, Leroy I think, who sits in the cubicle across from mine at work. And the black lady at the sandwich shop in our building, I forget her name, she and I always talk about the weather and my ties. That doesn't even count my black neighbor that lives a few doors down in my condo building, or Ashley from college who I still talk to on Facebook.

I think I can be the white person that bridges the gap between blacks and whites if I'm allowed to speak honestly and openly without having to worry about being called a racist. Honestly, black people use that word way too much from what I've seen. Many of the white people they consider racist don't seem racist to me at all, and I think this hurts black people when real racism rears its head. Look at the Duke Lacrosse case.

The pass would allow me to use words like "nigger" or phrases like "you people" without having to worry about the racism police locking me up. Seriously, you people really need to stop being so uptight the word nigger when white people say it. Words only have power if you let them have power, plus, black rappers and comedians say nigger all the time. It makes no sense that some people can say nigger and other people can't. No other group does stuff like that.

That's another thing. Black people need a white guy like me breaking the ice with other white people because honestly blacks do a poor job of making white people comfortabtle around them. Have any of you ever had to go to club where you were the only white face and deal with being called "white boy" or have all the girls laugh at you when you want them to dance? That's really not cool.

I also think that with a "magical white boy" pass, I can eliminate some of the damage black leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have done. These guys make it so hard for black people. There are always just waiting to swoop down on some perceived racism; it's just sickening.

In closing, I appreciate the opportunity to present my application to you all for your consideration. I know that black people have had some problems in the past, but I think this is a great way to start taking personal responsibility and solving them. By granting my request, black people would be showing that they are finally ready to have real discussions about race, and they are willing to listen to what white people feel.


Eton Binderhurst IV
Progressive Liberal


Anonymous said...

I laugh, I cried, I stood up and Cheered.

Good Stuff, mayne.

Anonymous said...

Here, here! I've been haunting the comments section here for a bit, as anonymous of course. I too request a white boy pass!

Oaktown Girl said...

"PS -
I'm also gonna need a special White Boy Media Pass for my buddies on TV. They need to be able to freely declare which African American public figures are either not 'Black enough', or 'Too Black'. You see, that whole kerfuffle dealio you people made over how we questioned Obama's 'Blackness' really needs to stop.


Anonymous said...

Hell naw...LOL. That was funny, good post.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Very creative and of course on point! LOL!


Stankoniforous 0ne said...

Been readin your blog for a while and this was the best post yet!

WNG said...

If I could stop laughing I would leave a comment, I really would.

Truthiz said...

Okay Big Man, I must confess....

Either I'm really slooow?_OR reeeally tired?_OR probably some combination of BOTH today?, because I'm not at all clear as to what you're saying with this post(???)

But I'll keep checking back to read the responses for some enlightenment.

Big Man said...


Over time I've had a lot of conversations with a lot of white people who seem to believe that they are "special" when it comes to black people.

These people get upset when they are called out for behavior that's offensive, that's humilating and that's actually quite racist because they believe all black people should know that they aren't racists and cut them some slack. Often, these folks would classify themselves as liberals, but not always.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to write a letter from the perspective of one of these people who has become exasperated and wants to get access to the mythical "magical white boy" pass that would allow to behave without impunity. That's what the post is supposed to be about. A letter from that guy, seeking that pass.

Big Man said...

That should be "behave with impunity."

And thanks for all the compliments.

Deacon Blue said...

This white boy says "Hallelujah!" to this post.

And I hope no one ever has reason to peg me as an "Eton"

(I still haven't applied for a Magical White Boy pass or a "Black Card," but I DID put in an application at The Secret Council of American Negoes, SCAN, some months ago for a waiver to reject chitlins from the upbringing of my little girl, despite their historical sociocultural-slavery-economic culinary background. I had to, because it's almost a certainty that my father in law will try to expose her to them at some point. Still waiting on a response from SCAN on that one.)

MCBias said...

Ha, Big Man, I needed to read that. As a white guy I get along fairly well with black people, but I need to smack my hand when I start thinking that a few months of successful conversation qualifies me for the Magical White Boy pass.

the uppity negro said...

I almost got mad reading that.

Like really mad.

And I can't afford to get mad, I'm already pressing my luck going onto a site that has in big bold letters "Raving Black Lunatic" and I get mad and start going off on the white folk around me.


As on point as this was, I think the only way around this mindset is to channel your inner Tim Wise and acknowledge that white privilege exists. I was talking to the director of the program with my internship and he said he took a group of high schoolers to a retreat and during the retreat they had a professor from his undegrad come and do a two-day exercise on race, she was black and she brought another white woman to do in tandem.

HE said it was a royal flop.

On the basis that when they came to discussion about white privilege the kids TOTALLY bristled and acted as if it didn't exist.

That reminds me of the scene in "A Time To Kill" when Samuel L. told Matt McConaughey that he was his secret weapon, and McConaughey bristled once he had to confront his own white privlege.

But you best cool believe, I'll be headed back home quick, fast and in a hurry if any of these white folk around me try and pull this "Magical White Boy" pass on me, cuz I'm going off.

I'm wearing my "Black History...To be continued..." shirt--don't mess with me today!


Deacon Blue said...

"White privilege" ????

What's that?

Owwww! JLL, I'm just kidding...

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

dang and all this time i thought u were a human being

chk this folk

Brain cells will collide

Anonymous said...


Truthiz said...

@Big Man- Oh okay.

Thanks for clarifying it for me!

Oaktown Girl said...

deacon blue -
In case you weren't simply joking, I hope you don't get that "pass" to keep your daughter from being "exposed" to chitlins. If she's African American, I think she should be exposed to chitlins if the opportunity comes up natural. You can simply tell her not to eat them. Hell, I didn't eat them, and they were being cooked in my home at least twice a year. But I'm glad I had the "exposure" and all that it entailed.

jelana said...

uppity negro

The woman doing the training on race should have known what the reaction would be and she should have had processes in place to overcome the students' reactions. She must not teach these diversity classes very often.

Deacon Blue said...

Oaktown, it's a joke. I thought that would have been clear in the context of my other comments re: this post, and it felt a bit weak to just say "great post" and leave. Sorry that it wasn't clear.

Granted, I don't much like chitlins (my wife, who grew up with them, frankly HATES them), but I have eaten them. I still think the use of a defacation related organ as food is squidgy, but I do appreciate the history behind them and appreciate that many consider them a delicacy.

Were my wife white and of a different background, say, Montana or the Rocky Mountains, my crack would have been related to prairie oysters.

I'll lay off making jokes on the web for a while. I forget how easy it is for the attempt to be misconstrued w/o the benefit of facial cues....

Eric's SoulFunkPunk Experience said...

LOLOLOL What can you say Big Man they are only trying to "keep it real" Shelby Steele says whites need to be brave and tell Black People the truth !!!!

I thought all those comments in CNN's Black In America was White Bravery and they certianly weren't shy about stating how much they hated us, so that blows Steele's and McWorter's argument about whites being tentative.

sdg1844 said...

Better than "Cats" or E.T. LOL

Oaktown Girl said...

Deacon- please don't let my comment contribute to your wanting to put off making jokes for a while. It's very true, it sucks not being able to see facial expressions or tone of voice over the computer. Even as poorly executed as it was, I swear, my comment to you was meant to be lighthearted, not snooty.

Deacon Blue said...

Aw, Oaktown, I'm not mad at you or deeply hurt or anything. My own wife told me after she saw your comment that she thought even before you mentioned anything that I might have been taking a big chance making any kind of crack like that, even against chitlins.

Fact is, even aside from the difficulty of effective jokes over the Internet, there are cultural differences at times when it comes to whites or blacks making jokes, and it's good for me to be reminded from time to time, whether deliberately or inadvertantly, that I take my chances with humor in many of the venues I frequent, blog-wise.

Remaining serious and earnest usually serves me better...oh, except on my OWN blog of course.

MODI said...

Big man, I enjoyed this one!

BATS said...

I fucks w/ this post, lol

hollinsJDprincess said...

LOL -- I got to this from SCAN -- and as a black girl named Ashley (who's dated white men) I laughed my butt off at that part! Good job, but that dude doesn't get a pass quite yet. He's no Robin Thick (re: the SCAN post)!

Raving Black Lunatic