Snoop Doggy-Dogg, Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion and now… Snoop Todd?
If you haven’t seen Snoop’s latest reincarnation as a white male advertising for the fictional dating site whiteguysconnect.com yet, I suggest you stop whatever you are doing and go look it. I guaruntee it will make you laugh.
Unless of course you’re one of the critics filled with empty cries of “white-facing” and “reverse racism.” In which case, you’re probably no fun at parties.
I cannot believe I have to write this column in 2014. I cannot believe there are people who are offended by a black man wearing a wig and turtleneck talking about liking paintball, crochet and poetry in Instagram videos.
And I cannot believe some people have the audacity to ask why it’s offensive when white people wear blackface.
First of all, if your retort when someone does something you find offensive is “oh, so why can’t I do that offensive thing back to you?” then you are not really offended. If you were really offended, you would understand why that behavior is dangerous, and you would not want to take part in it.
Most importantly, take a look at the stereotype Snoop Todd is playing into versus the black stereotype. Todd is an educated, moderately well dressed and, yes, romantically awkward white male. When a white person impersonates the black population they use ignorance, poverty and violence to define an entire population.
It would be different if Snoop Todd accused white people of not knowing basics about human sexuality, greedily controlling the majority of the country’s wealth or acting violently in a justice system that historically favors them.
But apparently it’s not about racism until white people say it’s about racism.
The problem with racism in America isn’t that we hold beliefs about the characteristics or abilities of a race, which is what Snoop Todd is doing. The problem with American racism is it is used to distinguish one race as inferior, less intelligent and incapable of doing certain things.
If things were different, we could all poke fun at each other. The same way you might find yourself able to do with your friends of another race, but on a large scale, there is no friendship between white Americans and the rest of the population.
We should be ashamed of ourselves. The citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, a 70 percent black community, are protesting their city’s majority-white leaders after a gross mishandling of a race-fueled killing. And we will only talk about racism when it’s a black rapper in a turtleneck.
If you really want to wear blackface, here’s my proposition: Go to New Iberia and protest the police who claim a young man committed suicide while handcuffed in the back of a cop car after being searched for weapons. March up to the police line in Ferguson and protest the racist system that is allowing the policeman who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown to be on paid leave. If you really want to take part in another race’s experience, actually take part in it.
White people using other races as a costume is a problem. It’s been a problem throughout history. Let’s not forget that Americans dressed up as indigenous peoples when they dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxes. We were fighting for our independence and we portrayed them as savages.
There isn’t going to be a law that says you can’t put on black face paint and do your best Snoop Dogg impression, but you have the choice between being an asshole who perpetuates harmful racial stereotypes or keeping your mouth shut.
Jana King is a 20-year-old communication studies junior from Ponchatoula, Louisiana. You can reach Jana on Twitter @jking_TDR.