Earlier in life then we probably realize, black people are taught the value of compartmentalizing our personas. While we take comfort in Wobbling at weddings and selectively blurting out “Ain’t nobody coming to see you, Otis!” around our own, we have a propensity to abandon the seasoning rack while amongst our unseasoned companions.
Our speaking voices might climb an octave as we embark on a companywide conference call, or we might wear our hair differently in order to circumvent intrigue and inquisitive hands in the break room.
So as a byproduct of our daily voyages into the Why-White Zone, we are experts at assessing our surroundings, calculating the amount of snowfall in any given room and determining our tolerance for Their Shit that day—as evidenced by “What the fuck is wrong with white folks?” and “I’m tired of Their Shit!” being a part of our daily rituals.
But over in the UK, Channel 4 news host Jon Snow (no, not that Jon Snow) stumbled upon a startling phenomenon. While covering a pro-Brexit protest, he muttered: “It’s been the most extraordinary day. A day which has seen […] I have never seen so many white people in one place, it’s an extraordinary story.”
With so much delight and genuine astonishment in his voice, I can’t decide if I’m amused or offended. But I do know that Ofcom—the broadcasting watchdog across the pond—received over 2,644 complaints about his “unscripted remark,” according to the Guardian.
But he’s wrong.
As anyone who’s visited a rap concert or a Sage Steele hair follicle already knows, there are infinitely more whiter spaces. So to that point, here are a few that immediately came to mind. You’re welcome in advance, Jon!
You’ll find Waldo or an ornery tweet before you will find a woman or person of color. It’s well known that the White House moonlights as a bower for white supremacy, so this isn’t exactly breaking news.
I love you downtown Austin, Texas, and I’ve had the time of my life performing a live show in the past and returning to host a few events this year at the largest convergence of film, technology, and music in the world, but somebody called that shit “the white Atlanta” and I haven’t stopped laughing since.
I’ve had the pleasure of participating in a few of these and nothing quite says, “I don’t belong here” like your showrunner asking you, “How important is it to black people to see black characters in the shows they watch?” Yeah. That really happened. There’s also that time that Color of Change pointed out that only 4.8 percent (4.8 percent!!!!!!) of TV shows employ black writers. That’s a lot of damn sour cream with barely any chives, y’all.
I fuck with Kyrie, but the yacht party he threw after winning his first NBA championship in 2016 was so white that the dude had to issue a public apology. Ain’t seen his ass at the cookout since.
So Mr. Snow, the next time you offend so many damn people, at least try to be remotely accurate. That way your network isn’t forced to drudge up statements such as these:
Jon has covered major events such as this over a long career and this was a spontaneous comment reflecting his observation that in a London demonstration of that size, ethnic minorities seemed to be significantly under-represented. We regret any offence caused by his comment.