I think we can all agree that the global, multinational enterprise called the trans-Atlantic slave trade, built on a business plan of kidnapping, torture and rape, is the worst thing white people ever did to black people. They wrote it into the Constitution. They codified it. They screamed for liberty and justice while blithely doing the opposite for centuries. Everything else—Jim Crow, racism, the lynching epidemic that still infects the new-age fugitive slave hunters rebranded as “police”—all stems from white people’s theft of African bodies.
The remainder of the list is subjective. The order is an inconsequential exercise in semantics. But this week, white people did something to black people that cannot be ignored. And when I say “white people,” I mean all white people, because one of you could have done something to prevent this atrocity. One of you could have spoken out about it. You could have nipped this in the bud in its infancy, but you chose not to. Shame on you.
On Aug. 30, Danielle Bregoli, the 14-year-old who became famous on Dr. Phil for sucking in what her ratchet eyes perceived as black culture and vomiting up the putrid remnants of it with the nauseating catchphrase, “Cash me outside, how bow dah,” released a new music video for her single “These Heaux.”
Don’t worry, you don’t have to watch it. I can explain it to you in one word: fuckery.
It is a cacophony of stereotypes jumbled together by someone who obviously has hate and disregard for black people. From her nauseating Stepin Fetchit, wiggerish blackspeak to her hair, fingernails and lyrics being indistinguishable from a post-chocolate-milkshake and Taco Bell-chalupa diarrhea fart, everything about this is despicable.
I could describe the video in detail, but that is not the point. It is not about the song, the video or even Danielle Bitcholi. It is about much more than this. It is about the reduction of a people into tomfoolery and ghetto tropes. It is about swallowing our culture, shitting out the undigestible parts, pointing at the turds and saying, “Look what I ate. Blackness.”
That’s what we see every time Miley Cyrus twerks. That’s what we see every time Kim Kardashian West flashes her butt cheeks. That’s what we see whenever Taylor Swift swipes the essence of Beyoncé, whitewashes it, serves it back up to Caucasian preteens and collects accolades for being a cutting-edge revolutionary with that affected “Aww, shucks” grin on her smug face.
If you sense any animus in the tone of this writing, it is not because I am upset by Danielle Butholli screaming, “Nigger,” in elementary-level rhymes over a catchy beat. I wouldn’t give her the honor. I am not outraged. I am not bothered by it. It is even worse than that:
I am used to it.
This week I wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about everything that bothers black people about some white women. A million people read it. Hundreds of thousands of people laughed at it. Thousands of people shared it.
But it made some white women furious that they were categorized in such a negative manner in a joking way. They emailed me. They called me out. They were upset because they are not accustomed to being negatively stereotyped. In their minds, how dare someone like me take the worst thing about a few white women and release the unflattering imagery into the world?
But the Danielle BreNazi video? It’s funny. She’s just a little girl having fun. Her 15 minutes of shame will be over soon. You’re mad at that? Get over it?
You haven’t seen or heard an outcry from anyone because we are used to it. We are accustomed to the thievery. We have gotten used to being shat upon. We have become numb to the shame of watching our collective likeness translated into an ugly caricature. It’s why we overlook the slanderous portrayals as if they aren’t injurious. It’s why we don’t throw a tantrum when politicians and do-gooders use “underprivileged” as a synonym for “black” while simultaneously denying the existence of white privilege. It’s why we assume every police officer who murders a black boy will walk away scot-free before a verdict is even delivered. We are mostly unfazed. We are too tired to be outraged. We are conditioned for the abuse.
That is the worst thing white people have done to black people.