White Kids Fitting Into Black Culture

My friend Ted Conrad sent me a great article in Salon by a mother of a black teenager who witnessed his foray into ghetto culture. One quote stuck out:

"Although black kids are rountinely expected to fit into white culture, the idea of a white kid becoming black seemed laughable to everyone but Joe’s African American friends."

Last night at a basketball game the speakers were blasting rap music. We were playing an all-black team from Oakland. A friend said, "I wonder what they think when they walk in here and see a bunch of white kids warming up to all this rap." Our opponents showed up late. The one black guy on our team said, "Now y’all don’t understand: there’s time, and then there’s black time. Black time is a half hour later." We all laughed, and the rest of us knew that if we had said it we’d be called a racist.

I think there are a lot of interesting cultural things related to this…

2 Responses to White Kids Fitting Into Black Culture

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    One cultural difference that has always been an issue for me in pickup basketball is the lack of proper defense.

    Solid positional defense, boxing out, calling out defensive switches…none of these things ever seem to happen when I played pickup games with predominantly African-American players.

    Does that thought make me a racist?

    Then I’d better not mention that I hate playing with those bitter Asian pre-meds who take everything too seriously!

  2. ben casnocha says:

    Very true and very funny, but I DO think it reinforces negative stereotypes. “Of course” the black team from Oakland would show up late. “Of course” they don’t play defense. “Of course” they have ten pairs of expensive shoes, but broke at home. Finally, at my school where we try to increase diversity at the risk of admitting students below the bar, the black kids are always the most academically challenged.

    This is where racism becomes engrained.

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