Race for Rent
Back in the day, Paul Mooney had a skit called “1-800-Blame a Nigger.” It was an emergency phone service that rented out black people to take the blame for white crimes. The idea being that white people blamed so much shit on black folks, someone should create a service to make it easier to assign ones faults to another. Of course while Paul Mooney was joking about the tendency for white people to blame things on blacks, it is definitely something that continues to happen. Back in the day it was Susan Smith and today it is Jeremy London, who recently blamed a black man for kidnapping him and forcing him to do drugs. Hell, white people can even blame black folks for relapsing.
Unfortunately, it is common place to think of white as good. Of course, there would be little wrong with this view if it didn’t rely on the devaluing of other groups of people. But it does, and often times, other groups participate in the proliferation of these views by using and marketing whiteness in a way that reinforces stereotypes. Recently, CNN did a story about the renting of white folks by Chinese companies looking to increase profit and company legitimacy. There is little objection by those acting the part and there is none by those doing the renting. There seems to be little awareness of what it means to be wanted as a white person and there is definitely no connection in terms of what kind of power skin plays in world markets.
I will end with a video parody about the ways in which black people could use white folks. Of course, it reinforces stereotypes, but it also does a good job of explaining the reason we would need to rent them in the first place. It doesn’t just extract inequality from the equation, it highlights it.