Commentary: The Controversy of "S*** White Girls Say to Black Girls"

A new video in the “S*** Girls Say” meme is causing both laughs and rage. Who’s right?

Posted: 01/05/2012 04:11 PM EST

If you check the Internet with any regularity at all, it’s likely you’ve come across the “S*** Girls Say” phenomenon. It began with a humor video from New York City-based comedians Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard, whose “S*** Girls Say” video was composed of two minutes worth of seemingly benign catchphrases you might hear your female friends utter. Then came “S*** Black Girls Say,” an almost exact copy of the first video but twisted a bit to appeal to African-American audiences.


Though both the original video and its Black counterpart spread around the Internet like wildfire racking up millions of views, both were also decried for their perceived sexism. Not all women complain to their boyfriends about not knowing how to use a computer, for instance. Still, the videos persisted, with copycat videos popping up — “S*** Southern Gay Guys Say,” for instance — practically every day since they premiered.


One copycat video, however, manages to stand out from the rest. Yesterday came the premier of “S*** White Girls Say to Black Girls.” Rather than just going the rout of copying the original video’s formula exactly, this new video, from actress Franchesca Ramsey, was slyly didactic, subtly pointing out racist things white people frequently say and do to African-Americans. In one scene Ramsey pretends to touch a Black woman’s hair, saying, “It feels like Cheetos!” In another she says, “Jews were slaves too, you don't hear us complaining about it all the time.”


The point of Ramsey’s video wasn’t to mock women, but rather to bring what are called “microaggressions,” “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of other races,” according to psychologist Chester Pierce, who coined the term.


Ramsey’s video has been taking some blowback from whites who are calling it racist in its own right. Indeed, the title is a bit far-reaching and may be a bit racist, but the video itself is anything but. In fact, it’s one of the best pieces of commentary about racism to come out of pop culture in months. In fact, it may be even better — and funnier — than the original video that spawned it.


The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.


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(Photo: @chescaleigh)

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