Over the Fourth of July weekend, more than 6,000 people donated to a Kickstarter campaign that was meant as a joke. Zack Danger Brown wasn’t raising money for a new invention. He wasn’t trying to fund a new movie. Brown wanted to raise money for what some consider a cookout staple, something he didn’t know how to make. Brown has raised almost $50,000 to make potato salad, and 6,000 people in the world helped him achieve his goal.
Yes, just potato salad.
In an interview with CNET, Brown tells why he started the campaign: "I realized that I really liked potato salad but had never made it. Then I wanted to make potato salad."
A lot people weren’t too happy to see Brown’s Kickstarter go beyond its goals, and said that it had plenty to do with white privilege. Many thought that only a white guy could start a Kickstarter for something absurd and have it attract close to $50,000 in donations. But do we blame Brown, or the people with money to burn who donated?
One student is now testing the crowdfunding waters for herself and started a GoFundMe to raise money. And no, Yaya’s not trying to raise money to make potato salad. Yaya wants what most people feel Brown has, and that’s white privilege. Yaya M. writes:
I am writing you today to ask that you assist me in acquiring some white privilege. Although I have layered oppressions that have affected my ability to access my slice of the American Pie™, no issue has affected me more readily than my lack of white privilege. From being assumed to have “cheated” my way into programs for gifted children AND college (via affirmative action), to having my natural hair viewed as unprofessional amongst professional peers, to having people make negative assumptions about my competency level, interests, and job knowledge, to being viewed as naturally dangerous or threatening, my lack of white privilege has created numerous obstacles as I’ve struggled to successfully compete in a white dominated workforce. I am hoping that, through this campaign, I will begin to make some headway towards closing the gap that white privilege has created in my life.
Yaya has even come up with a dollar amount for white privilege and used some pretty ingenious ways to calculate it. Yaya is trying to raise $135,000, but currently Yaya’s at a mere $3,675. Here’s how Yaya came up with the figure:
For those of you interested to know how I came up with a dollar amount for white privilege the answer is less complex than you might think. As someone who has historically been classified by the United States government as a Black/African American woman, I’ve been earning anywhere from 63-69% of what a white man makes for the same work since I entered the workforce in 1999. Even if I control for part-time work as a teenager and consider increases in pay as I grew older/more experienced and changed my field, that still averages out to about a $9000 deficit for each year I’ve been employed. Multiply that by 15 years of hustle and you have my total.
What do you get if you help Yaya obtain some white privilege? Everything from a new black best friend to some of Yaya's grandmother’s collard greens. You’ll also get a chance to walk around with Yaya for a day as Yaya dresses up like a cop and harasses you for no reason. These are just a few things people with white privilege will never get to experience.
It seems as though Yaya has covered her bases when it comes to the value of their GoFundMe goals, and the satire is off the charts. But will Yaya succeed?
Although Yaya has tons of supporters, there are still a handful of people who think the campaign is garbage. While Brown didn’t get get angry threats or name-calling over asinine potato salad, take a look at a few of the comments Yaya has received on her page:
It’s apparent that we live in a world where people can’t see the absurdity of donating to a potato-salad Kickstarter campaign. But as with anything, people have the power to do what they want with their money. Here’s to Yaya getting a taste of that good ole white privilege they're looking for.
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.