When it comes to trolling “the blacks,” white folks collectively employ a “can’t stop, won’t stop” approach. Enter, the latest way to pour salt on our wounds and mock us: 40-ounce rosé. I know what you’re thinking if you’re a Negro: Since when is a 40 the move in the mainstream?
After all, the idea of the lazy, shifty, government-mooching black sitting at home consuming large amounts of fried chicken, watermelon and malt liquor is one of American racism’s greatest hits. Just last year, there was a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated group pledge to depress the black vote in Philadelphia by handing out weed and 40s. Likewise, in recent years, racist GOP-affiliated groups, along with their friends in conservative media, both invoked the 40 to portray President Barack Obama as not so much the most powerful man on the planet but more like the typical nigger of their white supremacist wet dreams.
I’m sure others can recall news articles of yore like the New York Times piece “For Minority Youths, 40 Ounces of Trouble.” In 1993, Michel Marriott wrote:
Malt liquor—essentially beer brewed with sugar for an extra alcoholic kick—has long been popular with black and Hispanic drinkers. But in the outsize 40-ounce bottle, introduced in the late 1980’s with aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at minority drinkers, it is fast becoming the intoxicant of choice for black and Hispanic youths in New York and other American cities.
Some teenagers call malt liquor “liquid crack” in tribute to its potency. And to the dismay of drug counselors, social workers and ministers who see malt liquor as a dangerous drug in sheep’s clothing, the 40-ounce bottles with brand names like King Cobra, Crazy Horse, Colt 45 and St. Ides have become an accessory to the youth-culture ensemble of baggy clothes, expensive work boots and street-hardened attitudes.
Now, compare that to Forty Ounce Rosé. Per the company’s website, it makes “organically farmed, spectacular tasting, large format wines.” So, it’s an old stereotype served organically to the delight of white people who probably say shit like “That’s so ghetto” to the annoyance of anyone who knows damn well they don’t know a damn thing about the damn ghetto.
Naturally, the praise rolled right on in.
While most wine snobs would prefer to guzzle their booze from a glass, there are plenty of wine drinkers that are perfectly OK swigging right from the bottle, or from a juice box. Or, from a 40-ounce bottle. Thankfully, you can do just that—with rosé.
From Refinery 29:
No matter which 40-ounce bottle of wine you chose, this genius new way to drink is sure to make your summer a lot more exciting.
From Marie Claire:
While a 40-ounce bottle—typically relegated to cheap beer and malt liquor—of rosé might seem like a funny gimmick to bring to a BBQ this summer, they’re actually very practical. Hear me out.
You’re probably used to dropping around $15 to $20 for a traditional bottle of rosé, right? Those bottles only hold 750 mL or about 25 ounces of wine. Since a forty holds nearly twice that amount, they end up being quite a deal—especially since we found one store in New York selling them for just $16.
Summer is just around the corner, which more importantly means we’re on the cusp of rosé season. And this year’s is on track to be a doozy, thanks to some intrepid winemakers who’ve made the brilliant decision to package their pink nectar of the park picnic and pool party gods in a forty.
Eat your heart out, Colt 45.
“Eat your heart out, Colt 45”? Insert a Maxine Waters look of disgust here. Add a “fuck off.” Repeat.
If you’re wondering, none of the people quoted here have an uncle who looks like Billy Dee Williams or have ever had to contend with the stereotypes affiliated with the drinks. The same goes for the 40-ounce marketing that targeted you and all those who look like you in years past ’round your hood.
I don’t want to be completely Huey Freeman about this. Maybe the wine is actually good. Hell, rosé in the summer does make sense. Still, it’s been too many years now of Kardashians and other white girls getting credit for things black folks came up with or, worse, being exalted for doing things or appearing in ways that, if done by black people, would yield nothing but racist condemnation and dismissal.
This is that same pattern, only it can get you drunk and in need of a five-piece spicy strips meal with red beans and rice plus an extra biscuit to prevent a hangover. However, at least Popeyes has never acted like it’s too good for us. If folks want to reimagine the 40 ounce, sure, but if you’re not going to address the racist history behind it before celebrating your impending buzz, you’re part of the problem.
But you know, enjoy your fake hood experience, annoying hipsters.
Michael Arceneaux is the author of "I Can't Date Jesus," which will be released July 24, 2018 by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, but go ahead and pre-order it now.