Bossip: Playing up black stereotypes for page views
It wouldn't be the first time Bossip, a tabloid site devoted to black celebrities and culture, has espoused seemingly racist views about, ahem, black celebrities and culture. Take, for example, the actor and model Djimon Hounsou, who Bossip has consistently mocked for his particularly dark skin -- the site has referred to him by such minstrel-show monikers as "brother darkness" and "mandingo."
But that doesn't even compare to the straight-up racist post they ran today.
For a little context, below is the video that the site ran, with no text other than this headline:
Thug Looking Auntie: "I Ain't Even Know That Motherf*ckin Baby Fell Out The Whip!"
Which, probably the only thing that's missing from that headline is some reference to watermelon. But here's the truly crazy part: At no point does anyone actually utter that quote. In fact, the one quote in this newscast comes from a different woman (though she seems to be somehow related) who is not only articulate, she doesn't even use any appreciable slang. Don't believe it? Watch the video (you have to sit though an ad first, though):
Now imagine if, oh, say, TMZ ran this same post. The outcry of bigotry would be deafening. Why? Because it's racist as hell.
We get it: Black people get to make fun of black people in ways white people can't -- and certainly there's a place for it. Dave Chappelle made a career out of inflating racial stereotypes to preposterous levels and hilarious results, making the case through satire for the absurdity of those stereotypes. But that's not really what's happening here.
What's happening here is in fact the opposite: taking a sad, stupid situation and then off-handedly ascribing black stereotypes to it -- even more bafflingly, where they don't even really exist. Antoine Dodson -- remember "They rapin' e'rbody out here?" -- was one thing, a stereotypical caricature so ridiculously inflated he invited the mockery that resulted, but even then, it was far more on the basis of his just being a dumbass than his being black. This woman is not Antoine Dodson. She's just a woman up there on the stand, who did a really irresponsible thing.
For Bossip to take that really irresponsible thing and -- however casually -- attribute that irresponsibility to being black may be culturally acceptable, sure, but that doesn't make it any less, well, irresponsible.
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