One day last week, the internet froke out about Texts From Bennett, a tumblr purporting to capture the text interactions (texteractions?) between a dude named Mac and his borderline-illiterate 17-year-old cousin Bennett, who is ‘a white boy that thinks he’s a crip.’ (I mean, if you haven’t seen it by now, allow me to revoke your tumblr pass.)
That day, I received/saw something like two dozen tweets/Facebook links/gchat messages about it. Most people extolled it as hilarious; a couple thought it was fake-but-funny; and only one person admitted to not finding it funny. I guess I fell somewhere in the middle.
But a few days later, after each post had amassed a couple thousand notes, it started to bother me. What’s so funny about a clearly ignorant, possibly stupid kid who can’t compose a text message? But, more importantly (to me, anyway), would so many people find it funny if Bennett were black?
Probs not. ‘Cause Texts From Bennett falls into that cheap category of humor that requires putting together two seemingly opposite things. You know: rapping (white) grandma, (white) man in suit speaking in ebonics, (white) people doing other stereotypically black things. In this instance, 17-year-old (white) Bennett is saying some ignorant stuff, dropping n-bombs, being misogynistic and generally offensive. But it’s funny cause he thinks he’s black?
It’s 2011 and ‘being black’ still connotes the same bullshit? I don’t get it.