Untimely Observations

Belle In the Hood

Back in the 80s, it was generally trendy among would-be "subversive" humorists to mock all manifestations of cultural whiteness. If flamboyant ethnic non-whites were introduced into such satire, it was usually for the purpose of highlighting just how bland, silly, hapless, and essentially colorless all Middle American fly-over-country-dwelling Caucasoids were in comparison with the flavorful and intensely aesthetically compelling duskier strains of humanity, whose art and culture were always presented as authentically and resonantly soulful in ways that white "culture" (they'd put the term in quotes, or better yet, use those obnoxious air-quotes) could never be.

I'm not sure when the turning point was, but I think it can safely be said that this propensity has shifted significantly. No doubt the norming of politically correct standards has led in large measure to the turnaround; even liberal hipsters today know that there isn't much "edgy" about making fun of redneck hicks who chew tobacco and commit incest, or WASP suburbanites who drive minivans to work and attend Joel Osteen-esque megachurches.

Supply follows demand, and as a result, "racist" (air quote retaliation; back at ya, bitches!) humor has made a comeback. Interestingly, today we often find black humorists leading the way in this regard. Consider last year's controversial viral video, "It's Free, Swipe Your EBT!" which featured numerous melanin-rich ghetto dwellers gettin' jiggy as they celebrated their status as welfare parasites. Now there's this, a memorable parody of a song from the Disney movie "Beauty and the Beast":


Note how Belle, the sole white actress/singer in the piece, alone embodies innocence and beauty, while all of the black characters she encounters are corrupt, depraved, obnoxious, criminalistic and/or morally bankrupt, as well as generally being aesthetically disgusting. Belle possesses both an appealing guilelessness and also a certain shrewdness, most on display in the hilarious moment when she hands the child to the crackhead and goes on her merry way, or when she successfully resists the wiles of the charming neighborhood drug-dealer.

Yes, I know the piece is intended as a joke. Of course, it's meant to be in good fun, and not to be taken seriously. Still, could you honestly imagine anyone daring to make such a joke even a few years ago? Jokes, in their way, are serious business... And times, they are a'changin'.