Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whiter Than Sour Cream?

Weird Al Yankovic was in town last month, and we had to go see him. All four of us. Even our seven-year-old daughter is a big Weird Al fan, and she thought it was absolutely “awesome” when he came and sang on our table. Not at it, but on it.

One of Weird Al’s songs is called White and Nerdy, which is a parody of Ridin by Chamillionaire, and it talks about how he is just too…well…white and nerdy. He goes so far as to describe himself as being “whiter than sour cream.” And I understood the joke. No, not the obvious one on him.

The one on me.

I complained back in March of last year about the friends and colleagues who said that I was one of the whitest black people they knew. I took this as a well-intentioned, but misguided, compliment, saying that I didn’t fit their stereotype of what black people should be like.

But one long-time white friend made me see the light when she said that it never occurred to her that I’d take it as a compliment when she called me the whitest person she knew. Not the whitest black person she knew, but the whitest person she knew. She was making fun of me.

There are certain stereotypes among white people about white people that they use when they’re making fun of themselves. And yes, for those of you who didn’t know it, they do make fun of themselves. And apparently this friend, and many other people I know, thought I did a lot of things that fit those stereotypes. Just check out stuffwhitepeoplelike.com.

I was whiter than sour cream.

I got the joke when I saw Weird Al. My friends and colleagues weren’t trying to compliment me by saying how white I was, quite the contrary, they were giving me some good-natured ribbing that I didn’t get.

What do you think? Check out Weird Al’s video for White and Nerdy.

Of course, some people will say that just being a Weird Al fan in the first place qualifies me.

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha! I love it.

    I think you nailed it...it is hard to put in words, but I think that the white you refer to here kind of replaces devoid of color with devoid of culture. Like, no flair. Somewhere between that and yuppie a-hole behavior. With a good pinch of doing things in an unnecessarily difficult or antiquated way for the "experience" and intrinsic value. White people love that.

    My whitest moment was when a stranger caught me singing "Hard Out There For a Pimp" from Hustle and Flow as I purused the organic vegetable selection at Costco, after dropping my dog at daycare.