Franchesca Ramsey Kicks Off 2012 With ‘Sh-t White Girls Say … to Black Girls’

By Arturo R. García

So, how many of these have you heard, dear readers?

In a column for The Huffington Post, comedian and blogger Franchesca Ramsey, who created “Sh-t White Girls Say … to Black Girls,” said the video parody came about as a reaction to not only “Sh-t Black Girls Say,” but her experience being mocked for being an “oreo” with a “Valley Girl accent”:

After I entered high school, the teasing subsided and my circle of friends grew to include girls from all walks of life; but I always seemed to fall in with the white girls from upper middle class families. I quickly became the “token black girl” in my group, which came with a whole host of awkward questions and first experiences for my peers. Unfortunately, the awkward questions and comments didn’t stop after I graduated from high school. Throughout college and even today, in corporate America, I find myself fielding inappropriate questions and swatting hands away from my waist length dreadlocks.

Over the years I’ve found that dealing with white people faux pas can be tricky. If I get upset, I could quickly be labeled the “angry black girl.” But if I don’t say anything or react too passively, I risk giving friends and acquaintances permission to continue crossing the line.

The increased attention the video got over the course of the day Wednesday. Not only did she get signal-boosts on Colorlines and HuffPo and  retweets galore, but, unfortunately, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton posting it without crediting her. (Ramsey said Hilton later took it down, instead of giving her proper attribution.) Nontheless, the increased attention already bodes well for Ramsey after last year, which, as she noted on her blog, included:

The video below, taken from that channel, features Ramsey talking to her mother about starting Chescalocs and her hair-care choices.

So how will Ramsey follow up “White Girls” after such a strong 2011? We definitely look forward to finding out.

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  • Anonymous

    for sure. I don’t think anyone’s oppression outweighs anyone else’s and everyone is entitled to dealing with it however they wish.
    I was just saying franchesca probably heard it somewhere as opposed to making it up.

  • Samari

    The claims of reverse racism stems from the inability of some, but not all, misunderstanding of what constitutes white privilege. It’s one thing for people of color to make jokes about crackers and hillbillies and for people in power to make statements about people of color when it carries with the power to affect institutions of power. So, when some “innocent” white person states “oh, you don’t act Black/Puerto Rican/Dominican/Jamaican/etc,” it speaks to the constructions of stereotypes of people of color that are supported by the media, law enforcement, education policies etc. It’s a question of power and action. As Baldwin wrote, “It is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.”

    • http://twitter.com/andyford23 Andrew Ford

      Your point is an interesting one; however, isn’t the issue somewhat confounded when we’re speaking about a group who have historically also face oppression and prejudice, that of women? Even the prototype that Chesca invokes as “white girls” rife with sexist imagery? Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love what she’s done, yet part of me looks at this and wonders that perhaps, the reason it took off so readily has to do more so with the target she chose. It seems almost, in a way, hierarchal, like she could only get away with this in that she hadn’t spoken of all white people, in general, but fell in line with the misogynistic roots that gave rise to the “shit girls say” phenomenon. 

  • Embodied Cognition

    I’m sorry you had to deal with that crap. If it helps — though it really doubt it does — he may have been “negging” you — the insulting thing that guys do to weaken you and show their dominance before trying to pick you up. What I’ve done in the past in this kind of situation is pull out my cell phone, excuse myself, make a pretend phone call and start loudly speculating on the size of the guy’s penis. It’s stupid and passive-aggressive, but fun.

  • No Te Deje Agarrar

    What the hell kinds of people do you hang out with that they apparently go around touching each other’s hair at the drop of a hat? I mean, really. Who does that? I’m not black, but I would definitely have a problem with people going around touching my hair the way I’ve seen it happen to black women. Black people are allowed to have personal boundaries too, and they really are not all that different from anyone else’s. I also think you must not have a good idea of how OFTEN the hair-touching crap happens. I find that it’s much, much more frequent than most white people realize.

    • jas0nburns

      people don’t read. I didn’t say it was cool for people to go around touching each other inappropriately.  I specifically said ” I too have a hard time understanding why a lot of this stuff is hurtful” the operative word being hurtful. I have no problem understanding why to some it would be  annoying,  rude,  exasperating, inappropriate etc. but actually hurtful? if it’s hurtful than there is something else going on.

    • jas0nburns

      people don’t read. I didn’t say it was cool for people to go around touching each other inappropriately.  I specifically said ” I too have a hard time understanding why a lot of this stuff is hurtful” the operative word being hurtful. I have no problem understanding why to some it would be  annoying,  rude,  exasperating, inappropriate etc. but actually hurtful? if it’s hurtful than there is something else going on.

  • http://rvcbard.blogspot.com RVCBard

    No, not all Jewish women are White, but the ones who are still say that ignorant shit. Even to those of us Black women who are Jews.

  • WestEndGirl

    I find this really interesting. Three people totally ignored what I *actually said*.

    “One can still receive racial privilege while also facing racial oppression, these are not mutually exclusive”
    and
    “Some Jewish people are white, and clearly, those are the people that she is referring to in her video… ”

    Me:      “I’m sure there are Jewish women who do say such racist
    things to Black women re: slavery who do have White privilege – and I
    don’t believe in Oppression Olympics!”

    I just pointed out that not all Jewish women are White. And it is negating the lived experience of Jewish women – which happens all the time here, actually contributing to the issue that Jews of Colour face – to lump them all and *single them out* in on the premise that, well, “some Jewish people are white’”. 

    The theoretical White women – if in fact one *specific* group was actually needed to be playing Oppression Olympics or to “exempt themselves from criticism” (which nicthommi, if I were a less polite person, would be telling yourself to go forth and multiply in a stronger manner) – could have just as been easily an Irish American who could have talked about their oppression by the British. And guess what? Apart from in recent years when there has been immigration to Ireland, Irish people really ARE white, not just become White as per the meaning agreed in this space. No-one to be vanished.

    I can think of lots of occasions where Christians have been anti-Semitic to me, whether in intent or impact. Some of them have also been Black. However, if I made a video called Shit Christians say to Jews, I would not use a Black person to single out in the video. It’s pretty darn obvious why, no? Because there are other issues at play. And there are other issues at play regarding Jewishness in the United States and historically, which can’t just be dismissed with “some Jews are white”.

    I actually did not use to the term anti-Semitism (which I wouldn’t now either), I disagreed with Hegemon86 vis-a-vis the Holocaust suffering issue, I also stated quite clearly that White Jews and, I’m sure, other Jews can be racist. Not “negating an honest discussion” (again nicthommi, you know what you can do), just saying I am very uncomfortable with this as it paints Jews as the only identified Oppressor in an otherwise anonymous White narrative.

    But if you guys find someone – from a mixed Jewish background – saying that is problematic to use Jews, and only Jews, in a video about what Shit White Girls say to Black Girls given the wider issues at play, well then you are the ones who are failing to have an honest discussion and are being dismissive.

  • k.eli

    “My guess is that if black people weren’t seen as inferior, they wouldn’t mind us touching their hair.”

    As a black woman who lacks this so-called inferiority complex I’m apparently supposed to have, I can assure you that, complex or not, nobody has the right to touch my hair. Why? Because it’s my damn body! Maybe my mother raised me with a different set of values, but assuming you can just reach out and violate someone’s personal space for your own racial curiosity is not okay. I love my hair and I go to great lengths to make it look nice; so the last thing I want is a bunch of people sticking their hands in it (especially since i don’t know where those hands have been).

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  • Kate S.

    And? The point is they shouldn’t do it at all, instead of they shouldn’t say it to American born, but it’s ok to say it to a person who was born on the Moon :).  Your Jus Soli status shouldn’t be the thing that excludes your from this idiocy, you status as an individual  with your own feelings and personality should.

    Back to the topic : )
    The same kind of mechanism allows people to use generalisation like saying that all blacks are thieves after being robed by one black guy and really believe it, being happy when people in the Middle East die, saying “less commies in the world” when something happens in China (I reeeeally should stop reading the Yahoo comment section ) etc. 
    You can’t generalise you own group because you have an internal “I am not the guy who did something bad, even if we share the skin color, haircut or musical preference”.
      You can generalise the “opposing” group as long as you view it as a monolith Borg colony.
    The foreigner syndrome betrays the “Borg” perception of other people by the dominant group (Basically, it’s “Kate, why won’t you confirm to my idea of you”, spoken in unconscious, well-meaning manner).
    I think people should try to deconstruct this idea as a whole, no matter how profitable it is for the politicians to have somebody to blame for their own problems.

    Sorry for the typos, I really should get me some sleep :)

  • Micki

    I agree wholeheartedly.  Even the language–”Girls”, not “Women”, say these things–is degrading.

    • Erin Roberts

      Definitely, and in most of them it’s a man in drag, not women making fun of themselves. I do think they’re funny, but in a guilty pleasure way. There was one response video “Shit Guys Say” and I thought it was interesting how negative the comments were, especially from men – “women aren’t funny” as well as general comments taking offense to the video, like “men aren’t like that” (while women *are* all “like that”?) Also, there have been all these racial variations on “Shit Girls Say” but the original video should really be called “Shit (Upper Middle Class White) Girls Say” -the way it is at present tells us that without a racial adjective attached to the world, girls means “white women.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1130483506 Cleo Hines

    Lol, I’ve had that happen to me exactly one time, where a white guy hit on me in a store, we talked a bit on the phone and then we went for dinner where he proceeded to ask me, what I were mixed with (in itself problematic and very phucking presumptuous). When he I told him I was from Jamaica his first comment was ” I knew there was something different about you”….I swear I almost got whiplash how fast my head came up out of the menu. But did he notice or stop? Of course not, he goes into a diatribe on the laziness of African American versus the industriousness of blacks from other places. 

    I. Kid. You. Not. 

    And the worst part of it is, that’s not the first time I’ve had someone attempt to have the same conversation on finding out I’m not African American. Seriously? I mean….Really dude? Really? It makes me kinda wanna ask them “um, you know I’m still black right?”Anyway, after about five minutes of listening to this douche, I politely excused myself to the bathroom and never went back. This is why I insist on driving myself places, especially on a first date.

  • http://countrysistah.wordpress.com/ Debra Nunnally Beaupre

    This is an excellent point that’s getting lost in all the chatter.
     
    “I was thinking about that as well. There are plenty of white women who say these things to black women – and those white women are not ditzy idiots.”
     
    Smart, well-intentioned people say things to me, a black woman in a rural white state, as a person from a culture or a communtity of which they have no first hand knowledge out of true ignorance.
     
     These kinds of comments fly out of their mouths before the censor bell has gone off.
     
    The question here is how do we respond? 
     
    do we flip out, cuss the dingbat out and smack her around?
     
    Do we walk away and stew? Do we blog, write a poem or a play?
     
    Or do we decide to educate that person?
     
    I think that many of us were brought up to be polite and we try to explain and be patient and that after a while, that just gets so old, we become annoyed and declare ourselves DONE with white people.
     
    What I’ve come to understand is that I have always had another choice: not to respond, to defer, to decline to comment, to change the subject. I am not on this planet to teach others how to treat me unless I feel like it. Their lack of experience with black women isnt my issue. That has been a freeing lesson.  

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  • Bella

    President Obama doesn’t sound white. He sounds like an articulate black man. “Sounding white” is about timbre and inflection, not grammar.

  • Kaydee-P

    If you’re more concerned about the portrayal of white women in the video as opposed to what’s being said…there’s something to be said for that.

    • Anonymous

      I think the word you are looking for is “derailing” b/c I’ve heard the term misogyny thrown around in relation to this video and it seems to be a common method of derailing used when white women are called out for racism.  

      • http://rvcbard.blogspot.com RVCBard

        Don’t they teach you anything? All the Blacks are men. All the women are White. So if a Black person (even one who goes around thinking she’s a woman as if Black women actually are women) criticizes White women, it’s sexism and misogyny by default.

  • Mickey

    The fact that these white men make racist comments to you and then hit on you reveals two things. One, you probably strike them as being “black, but not really black”, therefore, they can say these things to you. Two, the fact that they are hitting on you shows their privilege. They can use the “I-can’t-be-racist-because-I’m-trying-to-holler-at-you-and-you-are-not-a-white-woman” excuse. SMH.

    As for the video, I already have a collection of comments that I would make in the event of the crazy comments mentioned. Hilarious!

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  • Hegemon86

    I wanted to like the video but the anti semitism really annoyed me. Yes, Jews were slaves as well, my grandparents were in slave labor camps and in aushwitz and while its insensitive and wrong for a Jewish person to negate slavery, she seems to be negating Jewish suffering in the holocaust, and erasing Jews of color, not all of us who have grandparents who were in the holocaust are white. My friend is half Yemanite and half Ashkenazi, and does not have passing privilege.

    • Amanda

      I am an Ashkenazi Jew myself, and grew up in an affluent suburb with a sizable Jewish population. I’ve heard the “Jews were slaves, too” line a number of times in real life, but in reference to Ancient Egypt/Biblical times, not the Holocaust. I’m guessing that was the implication in the video as well.

  • Anon

    I wish I could overlook the way she paints “white girls” as a unanimous group of ditzy idiots and just laugh at the humor… but I can’t.  

    • bwo

      It’s been said lots and LOTS of times by much more eloquent writers than me, but it’s *not* *about* *you*. Here’s just one example from Lucia Zephyr, but if you google “it’s not about you” + racism + sexism or whatever you please, you will find many others:

      “You should be receptive of criticism (especially legitimate crit) and
      stop taking it personally. It’s not about you, it’s not about you, it’s
      *not about you*, it’s about a systemic marginalization and whitewashing
      of real and serious issues. ”

       You do not need to get personally defensive if you are not one of the white women who does this sort of thing. It’s not about you.

      You DO need to be aware that people who look like you and therefore are assumed to be represented by you are doing things like this because YOU ARE in a position to change that perception through your own actions and checking the actions of your peers. Just because it’s not about you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and doesn’t mean you get to shrug it off.

  • EH

    Well I’m a black male but I’ve heard PLENTY of those comments, especially in the past 10 years of my life. Her video was hilarious by the way lol. Very true to life (which I suppose is a sad commentary on our society).

  • Andyford23

    When I first saw this video, it was about a day ago, I immediately opened up a new tab on my browser, furiously typed in “racialicious.com,” and perused the site, hoping to get a glimmer of reaction to this video. I new it would make waves, the once placid pond violently rent like a gaping wound for all to see. What is so eloquent and forceful about Franchesca’s video is how it points to the outward innocuousness that can, sometimes, be part and parcel with racial relations. On their face, these comments are routinely dismissed out of hand, chalked up to slight ignorance; however, as anyone knows who has had to be on the receiving end of them, they can serve to alienate a person, particularly if they are one of a few like themselves in that particular environment. It’s hard to know of what should be the appropriate response to comments such as those portrayed in the video. I suspect that many people have grappled or will grapple with comments such as these and how to respond to them. It’s a question to which I don’t have an immediate response for. What I am happy about, is that in creating this video, she has opened up a new channel for dialogue, however painful. 

    *On a side note* The video was also featured on Tosh.0′s blog space, where it received interesting commentary. Some even went so far as to call the video racist. I plan on putting my thoughts together more coherently, and then coming back to answer as to whether or not I feel the video is, in fact, racist as some have suggested. I am giddy at the thought of reading others’ commentary on this video here as well!

    Thanks for tackling this so quickly!

  • Ashley

    I relate to her. I went through the same thing and still going through.

  • Yonnie

    I hope to see Racialicious do a more analytical article on this video and more importantly, the comments/reactions to it on the internet.

  • Snow

    Some of my friends and I were JUST discussing this video. I reposted it on my facebook page and another one of my friends shared it from that. We go to a predominantly white liberal arts college in the middle of the Midwest and we get these questions and SO many more from both friends and strangers. I cannot even count the number of times someone has asked to touch my hair or just outright grabbed it without my permission lol The whole rap music bit especially struck a chord as that also happens ALL the time.  

  • Kendra

    My favorite will always be the “omg can I touch it?” Except for me, it comes from white men, and they never ask. It’s a true sign that someone sees you as ‘other’ when they’re willing to just come up to you in a bar and press their palms down into your hair, no questions asked.  (aka, the ONLY thing I can think of when I remember my last trip down to our fair capital city.)