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…for example, we (yes, there are several of us) all have our OWN tumblrs, and sometimes we say worthwhile things about our non-negro endeavors. The most fledgling of these tumblrs, with ONE brand new post is http://robynnator.tumblr.com/
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It was recently brought to my attention that we haven’t provided you, black people, with a new survival skill in quite some time, and far be it for we, other black people, to leave you hanging. The last thing we would ever do is leave you high and dry, alone, to fend for yourselves in a world of white people (or actually mostly asians, according to the numbers). That is unless you are..
THE TOKEN BLACK PERSON.
Yes, there will be times (read: any time you are not with family or at an NAACP meeting) when you are not just the only black person in the group, but are expected to represent black people everywhere with everything you say and do. Personally, I hate this role, but I also grew up punk in NYC AND had a high school graduating class with two (yes, you heard me right) black people, so I’m familiar with it.
Here are the top 5 rules for being the Token, and seriously, don’t step outside the lines:
1) No matter what you say or do, your opinion will always be regarded as the general thought among black people everywhere, so choose your words wisely. Don’t be all, “I fucking hate rap,” because that becomes “black people are beyond rap,” which is mostly not true. Don’t say “I don’t know, all the black dicks I’ve seen are pretty regular sized,” because that becomes “Dude, black dudes aren’t even really that big,” which is you know, a nice dream for not-so-black dudes, but come on, really. Don’t question Obama, because that becomes “even black people are questioning Obama,” which Obama does not need right now (HOMEBOY IS ON A ROLL). Just keep your opinions really neutral, like “it looks weird when black people wear brown” or “No, definitely Charmin.”
2) Speaking of dicks, it is kind of important that you, male or female, never mention black dudes’ dicks in the presence of hetero white guys. It makes them seriously uncomfortable because they kind of want to know if it’s a myth or not, but they don’t want to say they want to see every black dick in the room. Also, since you are the token, you probably HAVE the only black dick in the room, which means Chad and Matt want to see your dick, no homo.
3) White people are going to constantly ask you about the rituals of blackness, and unless ‘Angry Negro’ is your schtick (which can work), you should just answer their questions with as much of a how-could-you-possibly-know-about-this-exotic-mysterious-shit-called-lotion, charming tone as possible. Yo, I dated a white dude who couldn’t believe I had coconut oil in my bag at all times. He enjoyed my booty’s 3-ply softness and he sure liked the shine on my ponytail, but “COCONUT OIL? WHAT? Oooh girl, you smellll goood…” [makeout] You know, really annoying stuff like that.
Oh by the way, ladies, just because you are willing to answer questions about why you wear a scarf to sleep or why you don’t have wet hair every time you leave the shower does NOT mean you have to let strangers touch your hair all the time. They’re going to try. They’re going to act like it’s magic, and god forbid you are natural OR get weaves - any overnight change in texture or length is practically a sign on your head that says ‘STROKE ME,’ but STAND FIRM. DO NOT BE STROKED.
4) So you can be angry, but uh…I wouldn’t get too irate or you won’t have any friends AT ALL. For example, everyone wants a ride to the next million man march or the next protest rally when the cops go apeshit, but no one wants to be friends with Black Israelites. Do you see the difference? If you’ve been yelled at on 34th st by a Black Israelite, then surely you do. If not, google it
5) Being lighthearted and accepting your token status with tolerance and humor is one thing, but please do not set the movement back by being complacent/docile/a bitch. Examples:
Most importantly, racist jokes are common, funny, and whatevs, but for the love of god, do not let people think “nigger” is acceptable EVER. I had an ex who called me a “lazy nigger” once, and then had the nerve to get mad at me for being upset by it. As far as he was concerned, he wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings, so I shouldn’t be offended. WHAT? Unless you want to be the asshole that perpetuates that kind of backwards logic, just put a moratorium on that shit right out the gates.
Okay, there you have it! Five new rules! Try it out! Tell a black joke, scratch your name into your ashy calves, HIGH FIVE SOMEONE ON THE BLACK HAND SIDE! Be all the token you can be!
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While other girls in my neighborhood were learning to jump double dutch and braid their hair, my family encouraged me to spend the Reagan years reading books, nerding out with my grandmother, learning the five spanish words I still remember, and generally being antisocial. Sure, that was fine when I was six, and it made school a lot easier, but now I’m a thirty year old black lady and I only just learned how to wrap my hair two weeks ago. Boooo, mom! Thanks, youtube!
Anyway, while learning to knit and hanging out with my imaginary friends, I missed out on some pretty essential skills that have made other girls incredibly popular, but have relegated me to bro status in the presence of men. I’m witty, I’m funny, I’m sharp…and I’m incredibly unappealing to the opposite sex. If only I’d learned grace and agility hopping side to side between two ropes (I never even learned to turn those ropes properly, so girls were less than motivated to let me jump for free.) If only someone had told me before the teen years that ashy knees are not cute. IF ONLY I EVER HAD A BOOTY, AND LEARNED TO DANCE WITH IT!
Yeah people, I’m a terrible dancer, which most of my relatives thought was a genetic impossibility until our last family bbq, where I failed at the Electric Slide. Does anyone even still do the Electric Slide? I wish it would go away so I could stop being reminded of my shortcomings. The Electric Slide, however, is not the standard by which we measure sexiness and appeal. That honor goes to one thing and one thing only: TWERKING. Behold, ladies and gentlemen, a thing that I can never teach you, but have sworn on every brown cell I have, that I will learn to do…
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This is ten minutes and 31 seconds of DIPSET THE MOVIE: WHERE IS CAM’RON
Stop. Did I just hear you ask “what’s a Dipset?” Did your friend answer the question with “I don’t know. What’s a Cam’ron?” It’s cool, young black nerd. I’ve been there, and it’s where I gained my appreciation for google. DO NOT PASS GO AND DO NOT COLLECT $200 UNTIL YOU GOOGLE DIPSET AND CAM’RON. It will also be useful for you to do a Cam’ron image search and take note of his many fanciful and brightly-colored fur hoodies. In fact, the homework for this lesson is to find a picture of Cam’ron wearing a baby pink fur hoodie, lined in pink satin, with a matching pink fur winter cap. Bonus points if you can name the rapper who was described by our pretty-in-pink friend as “a gorilla, with rabbit teeth.” What business does a rapper dressed as the energizer bunny have insulting anyone? Take a few minutes, read up, and come back…
Okay welcome back. We’ve just finished watching Dipset the Movie: Where is Cam’ron, Part I. The highlights are at 2:30, when Weezy (google it) declares himself the best rapper alive and 6:50, when “Killa Muhfuckin’ Cam” aka Cam’ron leaves a voicemail. Honestly, don’t watch the entire video. You’ll die of confusion.
Dipset the Movie: Where Is Cam’ron, possibly the most irritating and stupid video ever made, leads us to this next incredibly important life skill for black people: learn every possible nickname for all members of Dipset and Wu Tang (google it, but also ask yourself how you made it into 2011 if your braindead ass needs to google Wu Tang). While it is not likely to keep you out of trouble or court, it WILL keep you out of fights when some dude in sagging skinny jeans tells everyone on the basketball court that he heard you singing along to Honky Tonkin’ by Hank Williams. Just make a reference to “Tony Starks” or “Bobby Digital” (google, google, google), and your Urkel steez/non-existent street cred has been saved!
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If there is one thing that White People love, it’s music. They love listening to it, and a large majority of them love dancing poorly to it. I’m not going to sit here and say all Black people can dance. That’s just plain not true. 98% of Black People can dance, and even if we can’t, that no-rhythm-having Black person has better moves than some of the shit that I’ve seen in my days from white people. Hey, if you are hitting people in the face with your limbs, you’re dancing wrong.
But, this isn’t about dancing, this is about living your life. If you find yourself in a place like Iowa (like I have), there are some new rules that you are going to have to adapt to. While there are certainly white people that love listening to black music (or international music, but that’s a separate post that goes on stuff white people), they are not as frequent as you might think. If you have no standards and about five dollars in your pocket, you can get at one of them. If you are trying to actually date a girl that’s not a grenade (once again, life experience), you’re going to have to adapt to their music.
Honestly, this is the hardest skill to develop because you have to listen to their music. By this, I do not mean rock, punk, electronic music, none of that. Black people did that all and were innovators to the fullest (Chuck Berry, Bad Brains, Derrick May are names of note out of a pool of many). That stuff is actually pretty good. I’m talking about that really white shit: folk, bluegrass, and country. We’ve never quite gotten a hold in this stuff for obvious reasons, the most obvious being that it pretty universally sucks.
I can’t speak for everyone but there is a rather long list of things that I’d rather do than listen to some old white guy strum a guitar and talk about watching a bird fly. This includes: gouging my eyes out with a rusty spoon, getting mauled by a pack of rabid pitbulls, getting attacked by Pitbull, transcribing a Lil’ Wayne interview conducted on the lean, being on an episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and rubbing my ball sack with tiger balm. This is only a sample.
Unfortunately, you’re going to end up in a really white bar with some girl/dude you’re trying to bone and be surrounded by nothing but tapered jean wearing fools warbling out really bad songs and your target, of course, saying sing this song or you’re not getting this. For folk, the easy solution is to just not go to those shows, but country’s harder because it’s in the karaoke machines across this country. You can just be wanting to hang out and get a drink, only to get cockblocked by the karaoke machine (once again, life experience). It’s inappropriate to roll into a white karaoke bar and start doing “Say It Loud! I’m Black and I’m Proud!” If you have the balls to do that, by all means do and write me a letter from the ER because those dudes there are wasted and will whoop you old school.
There is a solution though. Learn one country song. ONE. Why country? It’s like less offensive rap music. It’s about all of the same stuff: stabbing people, killing people, doing a ton of drugs, getting drunk at the club, getting super rowdy, boning women. You know, the awesome shit. No matter who you are, you can pretty much get behind any song about whooping drunk fools. Which one? Honky Tonkin’ by Hank Williams.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that you get to say Honky over and over again. There’s no more satisfying epithet than honky. Maybe cracker, but that’s really nowhere near close. The fact that it’s in the title of the song is just the best. Secondly, there are like 50 words in the song. You can memorize the rhythm of the song in ten minutes and never forget it. Show some flair and you’ll be living your life correctly in no time.
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One of the best ways to survive is to get white people to like you. If somehow you convince them to heart you, not in spite of, but because of your blackness, they will have your back forever. Hippies will always like black people because we diversify and lend credibility to their friend circle. Nerdy white people will always like black people because we’re their cool black friend. The Kardashians will always like black people because we keep their dating pool open. But how do you convince the rest of white people to even give a shit? Negro ladies and gentlemen, the answer is a singular word: RUN.
No, I do not mean if the cops stop you to ask a question, that you should run. That will, more than likely, get you shot, and no one wants to hang out with anyone who has an unexplained gunshot wound. What I mean is tell people you’re a runner and pretend to be good at it.
Basketball is the black people sport of choice by default, but straight up being a track star is better. First of all, white guys shoot hoops sometimes, and if you’re like me, and you suck at b-ball, they will know you lied immediately. Second, NO ONE is ever going to challenge you to a foot race. If they do, you can just mock their insecurity or claim you had an ACL tear and everyone in the park that day will like you more for not being a dick about it. If you say you do track and field, you will never ever have to prove it, which is pretty much the same as saying you are the son of god, or that when no one is looking, you can fly.
Consider this for a moment: remember your jamaican neighbor back when you lived with your parents in Queens? That dude was jet black, had six jobs, always looked relaxed as fuck, and had a lot of confidence considering he wore flip-flops and mesh tank tops all year long. Did that guy have white friends? Nope, not a shot in hell, because he sauntered everywhere and still ran on “island time” in Queens.
Now imagine that guy’s name was Usain Bolt. White people LOVE Usain Bolt, his blackness, his arrogance, and his wacky footwear because he is FAST. White people also seem to love those marathon-running Kenyans, which is laughable because I don’t even know any Kenyans. The only way I could spot one in a crowd is if he was wearing a NYC Marathon medal, and even then, he might just be a regular obscenely tall black dude trying to win the affection of white people.
Listen, you don’t even have to do anything to pull this one off. You just can’t be fat, and you have to own at least one pair of those funny little soft ass Puma sneakers that Europeans love and the rest of us stopped wearing in 1998. Also, a track jacket and a terrycloth wristband never hurt anyone, but if you ever owned a Run DMC cassette, you already have all that shit.
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Rule number fucking one for all Black people (but primarily men): pull up your pants. I know, this one is counterintuitive as almost everyone cool sags their pants. You know who doesn’t sag their pants? Drake. Do you see how laid that dude gets? He was in a fucking wheelchair on a Canadian teen drama, yet he’s somehow cool as shit. It’s because he doesn’t look like an asshole with his boxers hanging out and holding his pants up so he can walk. He also doesn’t look like a moron walking like those kids who sag their skinny jeans and have to waddle down the street.
If you are going to sag your pants, at least wear a belt. Y’all look like Victorian women running around holding your pants up so you can move. Belts are widely available and rather inexpensive, so invest in one please. I don’t care that you’re wearing Looney Tunes boxers, and I’m sure as shit that the girl across the way that you’re trying to pick up doesn’t give a fuck either. She might have even gotten at you if she hadn’t know.
Another practical thing: if you don’t sag your pants, cops won’t think you’re a drug dealer. I mean, follow other obvious rules like not being Cam’Ron amongst other things, but on the real, no dude in pants pulled up is going to be thought of as a drug dealer even if you are actually a drug dealer. Just something to think about.