Do White People Go to Chuck E. Cheese’s?

Illustration for article titled Do White People Go to Chuck E. Cheese’s?
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As the father of a baby person—and also the uncle of some baby people—I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time (for an adult) at Chuck E. Cheese’s in the past three years. Birthday parties, potty-train parties, random Saturdays when you’re babysitting your nephew and don’t have shit else to do—I’ve been there enough to consider myself a Chuck E. Cheese’s maven. I’m not even freaked out anymore by the fact that Chuck E. Cheese is an 8-foot-tall, line dancing, ticket-hoarding rodent.


Anyway, I’ve also made the following observations:

  1. The pizza there is much, much, much better than you’d expect it to be. It’s actually better than it needs to be. It’s basically the Ving Rhames in Baby Boy of pizza.
  2. I’m convinced that the music they play there is what the CIA forces you to listen to before you’re waterboarded.
  3. White people kinda don’t go there.

To that last point, there are three Chuck E. Cheese’s in the Greater Pittsburgh area. I’ve been to two of them. Neither is in a predominantly black area. In fact, they’re both located in predominantly white suburbs. Pittsburgh is also predominantly white. But when I go to Chuck E. Cheese’s, the city’s racial demographics flip. There are a few white families here and there, but it’s like I walk through those doors and enter a secret portal, transporting me from Pittsburgh to Baltimore.

It’s so perplexing that I’ve devised four possible theories to explain this phenomenon:

  1. This is just a Pittsburgh-specific thing (or maybe even just a me-specific thing).
  2. White people go during the week, knowing that the weekends will be overcome with niggas.
  3. There’s another Chuck E. Cheese’s-like secret place that white people go to and haven’t told us about.
  4. The secret Chuck E. Cheese’s-like place that white people go to is called “houses in white neighborhoods that happen to have large backyards.”

I’m still perplexed. I’m perplexed as shit! Any help here would be appreciated.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Tokely Carmichael

There was Chuck E. Cheese; but there was also the little known place called “Discovery Zone” iirc, it was basically the white version of chuck e. cheese. they didn’t even have the creepy animatronic (sp) freaky ass Five Nights at Freddy’s band