A The Washington Post piece led with this headline this morning: “An Asian American woman’s tweets ignite a debate: Is it okay to make fun of white people online?” It was a fine piece, I guess, but it never really answered the question it posed: Is it OK to make fun of white people on the Internet?
As a white person, I feel that I am eminently qualified to answer this question, and my answer is: Absolutely not! The problem with making fun of white people on the Internet is that it hurts our feelings, and we don’t like to have our feelings hurt! It bums us out. Does it in any way challenge America’s power dynamic? Oh god no! Have you seen who our President is? Or almost his entire cabinet? Or most CEOs. Or the fact that diversity in big movies hasn’t really changed that much in the last 11 years? We’re fine. We’re not worried about our jobs! Or our ability to advance in our careers or provide for our families.
It’s just that, well, it hurts our feelings! And I’m sure that some of you are, like, rolling your eyes, but listen! #AllFeelingsMatter! And the thing is, we’re white people! We’re not used to being made fun of! We don’t have properly developed coping mechanisms that have been honed and developed for generations. For centuries! This is new to us! And when someone says, #CancelWhitePeople, it sends a tiny sliver of worry down our spines. What if they’re talking about me? Do they want to cancel me?
You know that story your Dad always tells you when you’re a kid about bullies? About how if you punch them in the nose, they’ll leave you alone. Yeah, well, STOP PUNCHING US IN THE NOSE. It hurts, and we’re NOT going to leave you alone. We’re going to tell on you. We’re going to go directly to your employer, and we’re going to tell them, “After 500 years of systematic oppression and institutional racism, they punched back with a joke, and it hurt and I didn’t like it!” *stomps feet*
And I’m sure y’all are all, like, “But it was just a joke!” But here’s the thing: First of all, that’s our defense and you can’t have it, and second of all, jokes hurt! I mean, us, not you! Because, like I said, people of color have sophisticated defense mechanisms! It’s not our fault that people of color have been insulted, abused, demeaned, scorned, fired, dehumanized and even killed because of the color of their skin for centuries! OK. Maybe it is a little bit our fault. Oh fine, it is entirely our fault, but that was a long time ago! Like, the 1860s. And 1960s. And the 1990s. And the 2000s. And, like, last week. Or yesterday. Probably a little bit this morning, too.
OK, fine. And sure, yes: White people call the cops on black people every day for no reason, and yes, immigrant children are being taken away from their families, and sure, leadership positions are disproportionately made up by white people and the prison system is disproportionately made up by black people, but that doesn’t give someone the right to say that they can’t enjoy Breaking Bad because it’s another show about “white people being miserable.” Breaking Bad is the crown-jewel of white people shows (except for The Wire, which is ironic, but whatever!)
So listen: No, it’s not OK to make fun of white people. We’re sensitive. Like, really, really sensitive. Some might even say “fragile,” and when we get our feelings hurt, we will tattle on you! And the person we tattle to is also probably white, and that person’s feelings will also be hurt. We’re not just going to sit here and take it when someone says #CancelWhitePeople in response to something horrible that a white person has done, because we’re not all bad, and you shouldn’t lump us all together, because we don’t do that to people of color, except when we do, which is most of the time!
Thank you for your time. Please don’t cancel me. It hurts my feelings.