Forum Overview :: Rants
Short answer: It depends. Much longer answer within. by Horrible Gelatinous Blob 03/02/2010, 12:44pm PST
Hooray, racial politics! And before I've had my caffeine, too.

Starting from the ZP review: I'd like to give Yahtzee credit for subtly mocking the whole "I'm not racist because I hate all people who do niggerish things, no matter what color they are" argument, but it's a scientific impossibility for an Australian to be that subtle, even if he was originally born in Britain. It goes to show how black culture isn't really considered to be valid by white people until it's homogenized and smoothed down to be as inoffensive as possible. Until white people co-opt it, it's something to be mocked. Once it's validated by the white establishment, it's okay to enjoy in its diluted, less frightening state. In the case that the recontexualization happens in the opposite direction -- black culture lionizing Italian Mafioso culture (which white culture also does; the only difference is in degrees) -- suddenly the said behaviors are indicative of what's wrong with the entire ethnic group. Conveniently forgotten is where the behaviors were learned from in the first place.

I bring this up because if Yahtzee had spent half of the Godfather game complaining that he hates the whole Mafia milieu and that people who dress and act like Joe Pesci in Casino deserve to be made fun of, no matter their skin color, the reaction would be something like, "Yahtzee, if you hate the Italian gangster theme that much, why did you even pick up the game?" Answer: he wouldn't have picked up the game, because it would have been pointless. Yet despite the fact that Yahtzee really, really hates the trappings of 2000s-era West Coast rap, he feels it's perfectly acceptable to play a game built around the biggest 2000s-era West Coast rap star and that his complaints about it are justified. It would rightly be derided and dismissed if applied to any other culture or ethnic group. American blacks are the last group that white people feel secure maintaining their paternalistic attitude towards.

Yahtzee's reaction is a natural response to a culture that demands that all minorities be representative of their entire ethnicity. Yeah, he's racist, but not for the reasons he thinks he'll be accused of racism. He doesn't hate the game's atmosphere because it has black people in it, per se, he hates it because it's black. Or to put it another way, he doesn't hate black people, but he really, really hates black culture (or his imagined version of it).

More specifically to your question: Minstrelry has become significantly more difficult to identify in the last decade or so, especially as a new generation of black creatives have risen in the wake of black baby boomers' complete and total failure to attain even a small sliver of whiteness, despite their slavish devotion and emulation to all things white. I think that there's a large degree of black culture that makes white people very uncomfortable for a number of reasons, some of which even they don't really comprehend, and that much of this is written off as neo-minstrelism. I don't think 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand qualifies for a number of reasons, including the fact that video game plots are notoriously cheesy and overwrought and that the agency for 50 Cent's image rests solely with him; it was his choice to license his likeness and name for the game and the name in that check's payor field reads "Curtis Jackson," not Interscope Records or Lyor Cohen or some other tall Israeli.

A white person calling it minstrelism isn't crossing a line, but it betrays a limited, calcified thought process. There's nothing in Blood on the Sand that indicates Fiddy is representing the entirety of black America, or representing anyone other than himself and the other members of G-Unit. He doesn't have a responsibility to present anything other than what he wants to present, whether that's chasing a diamond skull or the father he's never known.

It's moving the goalposts in the worst way: white people define the boundaries and content of the stereotypes. Stay within, you're contributing to "the problem," Stepin Fetchit. Go outside, and it's inauthentic, unbelievable, tokenism, "acting white." It assures white people that they're not missing anything by continuing to deride and ignore what black culture has to offer (at least until it's appropriately bleached).

Other thoughts I didn't have the time or effort to weave into this post:

  • Eminem didn't discover 50 Cent. Fiddy had already recorded an album for Columbia, Power of the Dollar, and released two singles before he was famously shot and subsequently dropped from the label.

  • Being called racist isn't the end of the world. Pretty much everyone is racist. It's not unnatural for you to want to hire people that look like you, or to make friends with people who share your sociological background. To pretend as if that isn't the case...either you're an idiot or you think I am.

  • Materialism and success as cargo cult ritual to whiteness.

  • Intent does not determine whether or not a given action is racist. See: NBA draft age limit.

  • How mentioning race on any given gaming forum is guaranteed to result in an ideal study of white privilege.

  • Bamboozled is my favorite Spike Lee film, even though it was shot with crap-ass cameras and has a fairly bullshit ending.

  • White Apologetics Drinking Game.
    Question for Caltrops' posters of color by Mischief Maker 03/02/2010, 10:20am PST
        He's me in blackface NT by Kratos 03/02/2010, 10:23am PST
        Resident Evil 5: BLAX ATAQ NT by Worm 03/02/2010, 10:52am PST
            RE5: BLACKS STRIKE BACK, Army of Color(eds?) NT by Worm 03/02/2010, 11:01am PST
                Dem! and the Legend of the Crystal Skull NT by Worm 03/02/2010, 6:56pm PST
        Short answer: It depends. Much longer answer within. by Horrible Gelatinous Blob 03/02/2010, 12:44pm PST
            Bamboozled was funny, but 25th Hour had a more relatable protagonist. by Jerry Whorebach 03/02/2010, 2:12pm PST
            Here's a white guy question: by a fairy princess 03/02/2010, 3:53pm PST
                Marble-mouthed flow. De-emphasis of lyricism. Dr. Dre production. Signed to Afte NT by Horrible Gelatinous Blob 03/02/2010, 4:09pm PST
                    MOSTLY THE DRE THING (AND LABEL) by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/02/2010, 4:28pm PST
                        BECAUSE NOBODY GAVE A FUCK. Hey, it's time for a song! by Horrible Gelatinous Blob 03/02/2010, 4:34pm PST
                            The censored version. :( by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/02/2010, 4:37pm PST
                            This version has all new lyrics. ^_^ NT by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/02/2010, 4:45pm PST
            A++ would read again. Please to be front page! by Lizard_King 03/02/2010, 6:11pm PST
            Re: Short answer: It depends. Much longer answer within. by E. L. Koba 03/02/2010, 6:15pm PST
                Re: Short answer: It depends. Much longer answer within. by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/02/2010, 6:25pm PST
                Re: Short answer: It depends. Much longer answer within. by Pat Boone Maker 03/03/2010, 12:28pm PST
            Racism by Caltrops 03/02/2010, 7:47pm PST
                Yeah, jesus christ this thread could have come from QuartertoThree NT by Fortinbras 03/02/2010, 8:32pm PST
                    Would you prefer a solid wall of HURRRRRR? NT by Mischief Maker 03/02/2010, 11:39pm PST
                        He probably would actually (forblintas is dumb). NT by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/02/2010, 11:43pm PST
                            Shut the fuck up, you fucking sped. NT by Frank Cabrera 03/02/2010, 11:48pm PST
                                Don't be afraid to come off too sensitive there. 8) NT by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/03/2010, 12:28am PST
            Video unrelated by Fortinbras 03/02/2010, 8:23pm PST
            Point Taken. NT by Mischief Maker 03/03/2010, 12:02am PST
            Haha oh you 50 and crates (why do black people like crates am I right?). NT by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/02/2010, 1:13pm PST
            I will never apologize for making fun of this line. NT by Pat Boone Maker 03/03/2010, 12:02am PST
        fiddy activate your BOOLIT TIME by irony 03/03/2010, 5:17am PST
            It's easy to stop bullets when someone's just throwing them at you. NT by Jerry Whorebach 03/03/2010, 5:26am PST
            This idea is so ridiculous it had to come from 50 himself. NT by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/03/2010, 2:14pm PST
            what da matricks be NT by Vested Id 03/03/2010, 7:17pm PST
            Also is that actual 50 just copied and pasted from the big Price is Right wheel? NT by Jhoh Creexul (custom software) 03/03/2010, 7:35pm PST
        9 most racist disney characters by irony 03/03/2010, 5:20am PST
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