By now, I hope you’ve heard rapper Rawcus’ soon-to-be viral hit “White People Crazy.” If you haven’t, do something good for yourself and click below. (Turn your speakers down if you don’t work in an office that’s as Black as ours.)
On it, the Atlanta emcee lists many of the world’s most famously “crazy” White folks, including Lindsay Lohan (“she crazy), Charlie Sheen (“he crazy”) and Duck Dynasty (“they crazy”). He also acknowledges a phenomenon that Black people have struggled to understand for years: “White people kissing they dogs all on the mouth.”
Perhaps most hilariously, he has also included a few Black people on his list of White people who are crazy: Nick Cannon, Will.I.Am, Michael Jackson, “Kanye West’s clothes” and “Half Obama.” I know that someone will intellectualize the fun out of this (blah, blah, hierarchy of Blackness, blah), but I cracked up.
I know that Don Lemon is probably chomping at the bit right now, crying “reverse racism” and posting a picture of himself making out with his dog or something. It’s going to be a heck of a day at Fox News when they catch wind of this (it will be amazing to see them blame the other half of Obama). And I know the cries of "If a WHITE person made 'Black People Crazy,' you'd be offended" are coming (to which I say, if apples were avocados, they'd go great in guacamole. But they aren't, and now you have apple salsa. Sit around and think about that until this video chatter dies down.)
In this Mileymore era of cultural appropriation, Black folks are finding it harder than ever to keep some of our little secrets to ourselves. Welp, Rawcus has put yet another one on blast. “White people crazy” is something that your average Black person says at least once a day. We talk about it at our monthly Black people meetings. To be honest, we often dismiss microagressions that we should respond to or at least think about critically with “Man, White people crazy.” It’s a resignation of sorts. They crazy, what we supposed to do about it?
Enslaving people is crazy. Using Jim Crow laws and other forms of institutional racism to keep them enslaved is crazy. Dressing up in white bed sheets like a bunch of ghosts in order to terrorize and brutalize people whose only crime is existing is crazy. Dismissing centuries of valid complaints about racism is crazy. Cheering when a teen boy is killed by a local vigilante is crazy. Consistently appropriating the culture of the same people you treat with disdain is crazy. Thinking that somehow, despite all this, YOU are the true victims of racism and champions of equality?
White people, y’all crazy.
But you aren’t alone. Black people are pretty darn crazy too, due primarily to the effects of the things listed above. It’s a different crazy, as we are very different in many ways. And for that reason, “White People Crazy” is hilarious, while “Black People Crazy” would be inappropriate in the most delicate of “But my Black friend helped make the video” White hands and despicably hateful in others. Alas, I know that while many White folks are getting a good laugh from a silly song, there are also those enraged enough to make a response---the sort who’d use pictures of Trayvon Martin or folks living in poverty to poke fun at us. And that’s because they are crazy.
Interesting note: Rawcus says “I remember being in that womb like ‘Let me out, yo, they crazy!’” And seeing as though we haven’t seen his face yet…we really could be getting punked by what would be the greatest White rapper to ever do it. Or a biracial dude from Atlanta, who I would say has EVERY right to call White people “crazy.”
My prediction is that White people are going to make this song a big hit (Rawcus does plead with listeners to give him some of their “White ass money” by purchasing the song on iTunes) and that Miley Cyrus herself will be the first White artist to hop on a remix or, worse, record a video of herself dancing to it (DO NOT WANT). For even those who don’t understand any of the subtext at hand, I think they’ll see the fun in it. Regardless of the rapper’s racial identity or intention behind the song, it is a hoot and a holler. It’s not mean-spirited or hateful and it’s a good ‘laugh to keep from crying’ anthem for those of us who have been subject to the ways of crazy White people for a very long time.
Jamilah Lemieux is the News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com. One fourth of her, she crazy.