Editorial, Opinion

EDIT: Is it a white v. black thing?

If someone dresses up as a Native American for Halloween, it’s “cute.” If a non-Indian dresses in a sari for prom, it’s “trendy.” If a white person wears blackface, well, that’s just flat-out racist. But if Nick Cannon, a black TV host, dresses in “white face,” it’s considered what people on the Internet are deeming as “reverse racism.”

Now, Internet users, what does “reverse racism” even mean? Technically, wouldn’t it constitute total equality and tolerance for all types of people? Apparently not. To promote his new album titled “White People Party Music,” Cannon wanted to represent the “classic white people” who would be listening to it. He shared an Instagram photo earlier this week donning the alias “Connor Smallnut,” with his skin painted white, while wearing a blond wig a flannel and a beanie.

The photo itself sparked immediate controversy on the Internet, as well as its hashtags, #CreamCheeseEating, #BeerPong, #FarmersMarkets and #FistPumping.

Users then responded with comments saying that Cannon’s post was racist.

“This is so [expletive] offensive. What if Britney Spears made herself black and put a pic up that says ‘it’s official… IM BLACK,’” one user wrote.

Another user was less harsh and more blunt when he or she wrote, “Don’t get me wrong I think it’s hilarious but it’s just a double standard.” It seems this was Cannon’s goal. Mocking white people with whiteface is so different than mocking black people with blackface because the origin of the connotation is different. Blackface originated in the 1800s as a mockery to black aesthetics. Cannon’s white face is a satire of the archaic racist image.

It is not hard to realize that it wasn’t Cannon’s hashtags that caused the controversy. Rather, it was the fact that people are still sensitive to class and race distinctions.

Cannon didn’t seem too serious about this criticism as he continued to perpetuate the conversation through this response, “I love this conversation though. It’s showing a lot of people’s true colors… #punintended #wppm wooooo!!!”

Although Cannon doesn’t look “All That” as a pseudo-white person, by posting this picture, he still accomplished exactly what he wanted to — conversation and attention around his new album coming out on April 1. Oh, social media, sometimes you are just so predictable.

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