A Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism’

Jezebel, April 26, 2012

There’s been a lot of talk these last couple of weeks about “hipster racism” or “ironic racism”—or, as I like to call it, racism. It’s, you know, introducing your black friend as “my black friend”—as a joke!!!—to show everybody how totally not preoccupied you are with your black friend’s blackness. It’s the gentler, more clueless, and more insidious cousin of a hick in a hood; the domain of educated, middle-class white people (like me—to be clear, I am one of those) who believe that not wanting to be racist makes it okay for them to be totally racist. “But I went to college—I can’t be racist!” Turns out, you can.


{snip} What’s actually complicated is our country’s relationship with race, and our utter ineptitude at talking about it. We suck. {snip} But this new scheme someone came up with—where we prove we’re not racist by acting as casually racist as possible? Not our best, white people. Not our best.


So racism went underground. Sure, you can’t say racist things anymore, but you can pretend to say them! Which, it turns out, is pretty much the exact same thing. There are a couple of strains of “ironic racism” making the rounds right now, and a couple of typical defenses.

1. “Tee-Hee, Aren’t I Adorable?”

This category includes things like wide-eyed acoustic covers of hip-hop songs, suburban white girls flashing gang signs, and this Tweet from Zooey Deschanel: “Haha. 🙂 RT @Sarabareilles: Home from tour and first things first: New Girl episodes I missed. #thuglife.” See, it’s hilarious, because we aren’t thugs—we are darling girls, and real thugs are black people who do crime! {snip}


2. “Recreational Slumming.”

Wherein privileged people descend for a visit inside the strange, foreign spaces of othered groups. Like, I don’t know, IHOP. Or that “scary” bar in the south end. Then they go home again. Catchphrase: “It’s soooooo ghetto, but I actually totally like it!”


4. “God, Don’t White People Suck?”

Okay, I get what you’re trying to do here—having some fun at the expense of the oppressors while setting yourself up as one of the “cool” white people—but mainly what you end up doing is implying that black people don’t like informative radio or TED talks. Stuff White People Like: having the best brains! Isn’t it great that we can make fun of ourselves while still reminding you that we’re better than you?

And the thing is, when these things get called out, there really is no defense. But they try:

“No, don’t you see? I’m just showing how I’m so down with [minority group] that it’s totally cool for me to make jokes at their expense. Because we are just that kind of tight bros now.”

No. You cannot unlock some secret double-not-racist achievement by just being regular racist. Otherwise Bill O’Reilly would be president of the NAACP.

“But it’s a JOOOOOKE.”

Here’s the thing about jokes. They only work when they’re aiming up. I wrote this in another piece recently, but I’m just going to plagiarize myself: People in positions of power simply cannot make jokes at the expense of the powerless. {snip}


“Yeah, but we have a black president! Isn’t racism over?”

Okay. That’s probably the most racist thing you’ve said all day, imaginary amalgam of all the careless hipsters in the world. You know how you can tell that black people are still oppressed? Because black people are still oppressed. If you claim that you are not a racist person (or, at least, that you’re committed to working your ass off not to be one—which is really the best that any of us can promise), then you must believe that people are fundamentally born equal. So if that’s true, then in a vacuum, factors like skin color should have no effect on anyone’s success. Right? And therefore, if you really believe that all people are created equal, then when you see that drastic racial inequalities exist in the real world, the only thing that you could possiblyconclude is that some external force is holding certain people back. Like . . . racism. Right? So congratulations! You believe in racism! Unless you don’t actually think that people are born equal. And if you don’t believe that people are born equal, then you’re a fucking racist.



Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • haroldcrews

    There is no appeasing them.  No matter the denials and number of black friends you may have whites will always be ‘racist’.  So you might as well embrace racism.

    • Hirschibold

      They want constant mea culpas, like French missionaries flagellating themselves with the catonine tails whenever a racist image flits into the mind unbidden. It is a catch 22. When someone says “I’m not racist” it sounds to the average ear very much like “I’m not an alcoholic.” You could be a complete teetooler, but the second someone calls you an alcoholic and you respond “I’m not an alcoholic” the eavesdroppers think “Man he must drink like a fish.”

      The correct response to charges of racism is not to either deny the charge or to own it. Just laugh. It deserves cyncisim and bemusement.

      • Dan

        I’ve learned to wear my racism like a badge of honor. I say release your inner racist. It’s invigorating and often leaves your accuser speechless.

    • ed91

       Mother Nature is racist………….

      not our fault blacks got dealt a bad hand

    • Very true…as a white man in my early 30’s I was taught the PC-BS doctrine all trough public school.  Then I became and adult.  Tried to be nice to them.  Tried to help them.  Tried to understand them.  
      Never feed the beast–the beast will always want more.  You appease them once…it’s like they see it as a weakness and will always try to get more.  I reached a point where just ignore them.  I plan my workday so I have very limited contact with them.     

    • ed91

       it’s always been a game of give an inch and they want to take a mile…………………….
      and it’s gone on up til now………..and here we are

    • Natassia

      You know what I always say when charged with that thoughtcrime? “I’m not racist. I’m trashist.” It certainly isn’t my fault that a disproportionate number of people who look a certain way happen to be rather trashy.

  • I’ll simplify for Jez:
    Racists are only white
    never colored
    the end

  • Rocky Bass

    I have reached a point in my life, having seen enough hypocritical black behavior to just not give a damn what blacks think about ANYTHING ANYMORE!

    • Usually it’s something about revenge (what they call justice) or respect.  

  • ncpride

    Well Lindy, I certainly don’t believe for a second that black people are ‘oppressed’ by any stretch of the imagination, I absoutely don’t believe all people are born ‘equal’, I don’t have any black friends, and if asked, I’ll flat out tell you I don’t care for black people…. So I guess that makes me…um, how did you put it? OH! That must make me a f*****g racist.  Not a ‘hipster’ racist, just a plain old ‘F-bomb’ racist. Oh my. Guess I’m not so cool after all. Darn.

  • ageofknowledge

    I’m not a racist but I do try to look at things as they are in reality. So I believe my experiences matter and what I’ve noticed is that in the real world (as opposed to online forums), I encounter reverse racists MUCH more frequently. 

  • sbuffalonative

    A few years back, I worked at a company that employed a fair number of white college students. They would often make comments about blacks that most people in todays politically correct age would define as ‘racist’. When they did, I would tell them, ‘you know, that’s racist’. They would counter with, ‘it’s not racist if it’s true’.

    They were savvy enough to make such comments in hushed voices so non-whites outside the group would not hear said remarks which told me on some level they knew that what they were saying would be considered ‘racist’ but in their mind, weren’t. They would sometimes defend their opinions by saying ‘I have black friends’, cites some racist stereotype that fit their views (such as black criminals or drug dealers), or make it clear that since they weren’t ‘Conservative-Republicans like Rush Limbaugh and other publicly vilified ‘racist’ memes, their remarks couldn’t be construed as racist.

    There is clearly a disconnect between what young liberals believe and say and how they perceive themselves. The key seems to be as long as, in their world-view their comments are true but they themselves aren’t Republican or Conservative, their opinions can’t be considered racist.

    If you have the time, go to the website and read the comments.

    Someone posted a dialogue from the TV show ‘30 Rock’. It’s an exchange between four black characters, Tracy, Toofer, Grizz, and Dot Com. Note the comments about a black burglar in a home security system ad and a white judge on ‘Law and Order’.

    The writers on the show are clearly aware of media race manipulation:

    Tracy: I’m telling you, Dot Com, old-school racism is back.

    Toofer: How can racism be back when we elected a black president?

    Tracy: Barry Obama is the one who brought it back.

    Toofer: So you’re saying that racism is back because white people no longer feel sorry for us?

    Tracy: Hey, something’s going on. You know what I saw last night? A Slomin’s Shield commercial with a black burglar!

    Dot Com: That’s not good.

    Grizz: Come to think of it, I saw a white judge on “Law and Order” last night.

    • ed91

      in actuality, what is called racism is in fact true, in the sense of say, blacks are dumber on average than whites……or the average black runs faster than the average white……   it’s true……….  and it is racism, as in favoring one race over another………..  you can’t fool Mother Nature….
      so:  if racism is in many ways, true……….  then racism isn’t always bad……………. sometimes it just frickin’ the way it is.

      the problem is that liberals have hijacked the word, racism…… along with gay, prejudiced, queer, and on and on………. I’m taking the words back.

  • Boereseun

    I don’t know what this disingenuous white liberal  is talking about. I fully accept my racist self. It’s awesome being a racist, I suggest every white becomes one (except DWLs of course). Once you accept your ‘racist’ calling, a weight is lifted from your shoulders and your mind becomes clearer. 

    Once you drop the strains of white guilt and start working towards a common white goal. The world appears more white, more bright and more worthwhile. There is simply nothing to feel ashamed for, our race has done great things and once we loosen the shackles of white guilt from our wrists and ankles and discard them, we shall succeed again. 

    Right? So congratulations! You believe in racism! Unless you don’t actually think that people are born equal. And if you don’t believe that people are born equal, then you’re a fucking racist. – Lindy West

    And a proud one at that! Thanks Lindy!

  • Up to my neck in CA

    Will I guess i’m a f*****g racist.

    • Boereseun

      Lol, join the club!

  • IKantunderstand

    I like to call it: “Elite smart ass racism against fellow whites who I look down upon as being dumb asses”.  Seriously? Really? I’m going “inside the strange, foreign spaces of other groups” when I go to IHOP? Are you for real? Did you actually mean to say IHIPHOP? Have you actually ever been to an IHOP? Get out of your white elitist tower, bitch, and eat a pancake.

  • I always wondered about those curious phrases, “keeping the bruthas down”   and “black oppression.”  So we are “keeping the blacks down are we?’  DOWN FROM WHAT?  Like these people are going to suddenly rise up and start landing space ships on Mars??  If we are all OUT of Africa then it would appear that they have had at least a 10,000 year head start on us…..as for the black “oppression” thing, don’t even get me started on the black quality of life in africa under Black Rule vs. quality of life in the USA under White Rule.

  • Up to my neck in CA

    A picture of the real enemy, a White hating woman who is White and condones her own race replacement. $10 bucks says she dates the dusky brothern too.

    • The__Bobster

      More likely the dusky sistas, nome sane?

    • ed91

       they can have her……..  they deserve each other…….

    • Beloved Comrade

      Wish I’d had a head’s up before looking at that photo.  I almost lost my breakfast.

      You owe me some eyewash.

  • Southern__Hoosier

    “Unless you don’t actually think that people are born equal. And if you don’t believe that people are born equal, then you’re a fucking racist.”

    I guess I’m a racist them.  All people are equal in the eyes of God and the law, but that is as far as equality goes. If we were all equal then there would be just as many Blacks at MIT as Asians. If we were all born equal there wouldn’t be all those Jewish Noble Prize winner.

    If we were all born equal we would be like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, rich college dropouts.

    • haroldcrews

      ‘Born equal in the eyes of God’.  I never have understood that expression.  I’m a Christian and know that God loves all of us whether we end up in Heaven or in Hell.  It is not our resemblance to each other that we have dignity but our being made in God’s image.  Also all are not equal before the law.  There are those who have legal handicaps; namely minors and the incompetent.

    • ed91

       that is about as much nonsense as the meter will tolerate:

      (And if you don’t believe that people are born equal, then you’re a fucking racist.)

      I believe it is self-evident that people are not born equal…….  being a racist has nothing to do with that fact.

  • Detroit_WASP

    Number 1 is white girls flashing gang signs in the article is an example of how black cluture has had a negative impact on whites.  White kids becoming “wiggers” (only we white people can say wigger…btw).  Whenever I see a white kid dressing and talking black I am disgusted. 

    Number 2 is slumming for adventure.  Blacks are aware of this and are only too glad to rob, rape and kill these dumb white kids that venture into the hood.  These kids have been fooled by the media into thinking that we are all equal and the blacks will love them for not being racist and visiting them in the ghetto!  LOL  Kids don’t watch the 6pm local news and simply don’t know the truth.

    • sbuffalonative

      I went to my local corner grocery store today. There were three white boys standing outside the entrance. They were dressed like clowns. I want to tell them but why risk getting into a fight or getting arrested for speaking my opinions in public. I wanted to say ‘take a picture of yourselves and 10 years from now, tell my you aren’t embarrassed by how you look’. Total ghetto garb; laughable.

      When I left the store, they had been joined by a black teen who was wearing an equally ridicules ensemble.

  • MekongDelta69

    Figures – endless supply of guilt-ridden, self-loathing white feminoid leftists…

    Lindy West (author of the above ‘masterpiece’):

  • Screamin_Ruffed_Grouse

    … you must believe that people are fundamentally born equal. So if that’s
    true, then in a vacuum, factors like skin color should have no effect on
    anyone’s success. Right? And therefore, if you really believe that all
    people are created equal, then when you see that drastic racial
    inequalities exist in the real world, the only thing that you could possiblyconclude
    is that some external force is holding certain people back. Like . . .
    racism. Right? So congratulations! You believe in racism! Unless you
    don’t actually think that people are born equal.

    Nope, I don’t! How about that? That last sentence might as well read ‘unless you don’t actually believe the socially popular BS that nobody else really believes either, and instead insist on believing the observably obvious.’

    And if you don’t believe that people are born equal, then you’re a f*cking racist.

    Damn, got me again! This chick’s good.

  • ed91

    yes, you play around with blacks and get back with me on how that works out…..

    good luck

  • bluffcreek1967

    This is all so incredibly ridiculous! Only an over-educated, disingenious white liberal would go around trying to show how certain Whites, who don’t think they are racist, actually are! Do you honestly think for one minute that Blacks, Mexicans, or any other non-White race walks around consumed with the thought of whether their thoughts or actions are racist toward Whites? The thought never even crosses their minds! Non-Whites don’t even think in such terms! Many Blacks, in fact, think they are incapable of racism, and other non-Whites don’t give a damn whether they are seen as racist of not! But so many foolish Whites are preoccupied over how they are viewed by other races.

    Jezebel writes, “And if you don’t believe that people are born equal, then you’re a fucking racist.” This is an incredibly naive statement to make for one needs only to consider that while some humans are born with great wealth and opportunity, others are born in the worst possible conditions of poverty and disease. Some are born with the great intellectual and verbal capabilities while others can barely articulate a clear sentence or comprehend the pages they struggle to read. Some are born in good health and rarely suffer any illness throughout their lives, while others are plagued with one ailment after another. Some are born with a natural kindness and gentleness of heart, while others are born with an evil bent that only grows darker as they age.

    While it is true that all races of people are human and, therefore in my opinion, should be treated with dignity by virtue of being created in the image of God, this does not mean that all races are the same, produce the same results, have the same intellectual IQ’s, the same temperment, the same ability to create or anything of this sort. The races are all very unique and very different too. This was common knowledge to our White ancestors – and it was even known among most people of other races too – but it is only such politically-correct and multi-cultural societies as the U.S. and Europe that one has to explain such simple and obvious truths.   

  • No

    Racism is a healthy thing.  It makes me feel good, like a big bag of Skittles or some grape drank and fried chicken.
    Ten ways to tell if you’re a racist:
    1)  You refuse to use white toilet paper and only use the recycled brown kind.
    2)  You refuse any food cooked by a non-white.
    3)  You refuse to speak on the phone to any non-white.
    4)  Your children could sing Dixie before they knew even half the words to the Star Spangled Banner.
    5)  You refuse to allow your children to go to a public school unless it’s more than 95% white.
    6)  Your children know to lock the car doors when entering a n-word neighborhood . . . without being told
    7)  Your daughter knows that any of her non-white friends coming to your door will quickly discover that you own a shotgun
    8)  Your German Sheperds are named  Adolf,  Klaus and Heinrich
    9)  You have a signed photo of Lester Maddox that your dad got when he was “active” hanging on your wall
    10)  You’ve had to remove some of the wite-power tattoos you got in prison so you could land a good job at Walmart

    • The__Bobster

      Hmmmm, you’ve improved on John Derbyshire’s list.

  • Natassia

    So, if I am reading this right…

    thugs = black people
    ghetto = black people
    gang signs = black people
    crime = black people

    Wow. Who is the racist here?

    • Jimmy Fisher

      Racists = black people

  • Texan1st

    One thing I’ve never heard a leftist explain is this: If racism is the reason so many blacks fail to advance in society, what is it that is holding the 22 million whites down that are living below the poverty line? And if it’s not racism but their own lack of initiative and drive that’s keeping these whites from advancing, isn’t it possible that these things are keeping many blacks down as well? Or are we to believe that while some whites lack initiative and drive, every black person is born with these traits? And if we are to believe the latter, isn’t this an admission on their part that we are NOT born equal?

  • ViktorNN

    Dear Jezebel,

    Sorry, but I didn’t make hip hop culture ridiculous and mockable. Blacks did. Vanilla Ice and Eminem did too, but it was mostly blacks.

    And no, blacks aren’t immune from being made fun of when they act stupid.

    And no, it’s not racist to make fun of stupid blacks.

    And no, it’s not racist to make fun of the trappings of non-white gang culture, like flashing signs. These gestures are used to romanticize gang life,to look intimidating, and to create fear. Teenage white girls mocking gang signs dilutes that fear, and makes fun of it as it should be made fun of. Gang culture should not be respected. Criminality should be belittled.

    And I say all this really not caring one bit whether you think I’m racist or not, because I know that no matter what I say you will think I’m a racist because I simply disagree with you.

  • BJDeller

    People just do not know how to say the word properly  It is pronounced R E A L I ST.   All together now practice saying and thinking it so in discussions and thoughts you do not need to feel bad about the facts.  People have to make their own destiny, not rely on others to do it for them for they will never be free if they do.

    My father born in 1906, suffered polio whjen he was achiuld and never finished schooling,. already then a rich amn’s privilege as a result but with a withered right arm, he worked damn hard through the depression years, made my brother and I work very hard at school (no playing until homework is finished, etc) and at weekends and school holidays to earn pocket money so we appreciated the results of hard work, and we have both done very well as a result.  The World owes you nothing so get on with earning your way.  This applies to all races and cultures.

  • I remember when Flava-Flav (crazy, black entertainer from the eighties) was wearing a plate-sized, pocket-watch around his neck to represent that ‘time was running out for Whitey’.

    I hear ‘tick-tock tick-tock’ again now. The hispanics are done with blacks – drove them from LA – shoot them on sight.  Whites are waking from their liberal-progressive, opiate slumber, rudely awakened by the sound of TNB.  Asians have no stomach for blacks, never did.  

    I have been watching the affirmative action escapades in politics, society and education for many years.  I see blacks are not ‘equal’ to whites.  They lack intelligence, character, integrity, motivation, initiative , imagination and especially foresight.  Black downfall is their inability to connect cause with effect – they truly do not see a relationship between behavior and consequences, hence they are constantly getting arrested – always in a state of indignant outrage – ‘why are blacks always targeted by police?’  Because blacks are essentially apes and really cannot control themselves or understand right from wrong.

    White libtards and others who embrace this ‘diversity is our strength’  propaganda only do so at their own peril.  I did not feel sorry for the stupid white guy who was stripped, beaten and robbed by a group of blacks, in a black hood, in broad daylight.  Seriously, what was he thinking?  He was laughing at first, like the blacks were just fooling around with him for fun, but he stopped smiling after the first punch to his face sent him to the pavement so hard you could hear his head crack on the cement.  Then all you could hear was the blacks laughing. 

  • MartelC

    Unless you don’t actually think that people are born equal. And if you don’t believe that people are born equal, then you’re a f*cking racist.

    do you notice the complete lack of civility, the self-righteousness, the complete lack of basic reasoning skills? This is a textbook fanatic. These are the people who gun down Kulaks because they are ‘in the way’ – honestly – does anyone here think that the writer of this article would flinch for a moment when signing an order to execute a ‘racist’? 

  • MartelC

    all those SWPL liberals will soon find out the revolution consumes it own – what these writers dont’ realize is eventually you will be racist and guilty simply for being white – much like the French Revolution and the aristos who thought they would get a pass when they screamed ‘down with the king’. 

  • ‘and this Tweet from Zooey Deschanel: “Haha.
    RT @Sarabareilles: Home from tour and first things first: New Girl
    episodes I missed. #thuglife.” See, it’s hilarious, because we aren’t
    thugs—we are darling girls, and real thugs are black people who do
    crime! {snip}’

    Wait… Zooey Deschanel is now a RACIST?

    I adore her even more now!!! 

    This SWPL failed. 

  • Joe

    I don’t know any hipsters in my life…. they sound real tedious and stupid to me.
    Throw your teevees in the dumpster white America: Don’t let your children be indoctrinated like this.
    There’s a whole world of beauty and grace out there outside of your living room where the tv is. Show your children a world of beauty and grace, not this horrible nihilistic destruction.

  • The__Bobster

    I wonder what would hapen to race-mixing if affirmative action were limited to Bantus with 50+% congoid blood. A White woman would produce a stupid, violent mixaloid who would not be employable at anything meaningful.

  • The__Bobster
  •  “Race is one of the least complicated issues that there is, because it’s
    made up. It’s arbitrary. It’s as complicated as goddamn Santa Claus. Oh,
    that guy’s mom was half-black, which makes his skin slightly more
    pigmented than mine, which therefore means that he’s inherently 12.5%
    lazier than me?”

    This is something I see over and over again in antiracist literature or talking to antiracist types. They really do think that our entire problem with black people is that they have more melanin in their skin than we do.

    It’s just a strange artifact of language that we happen to identify the African — Negroid race — as “black”.  If language had evolved differently, we might call them “Wireyhairs” or “yelloweyes”. No one is saying that someone is more likely to commit a violent crime or more likely to have a low IQ because they have dark skin. But they are more likely to fall into those categories if they are of the Negroid, subsahran African race, which generally is marked by very dark skin, and due to historical happenstance, is named “Black” in our language.

  • xxxtonygunsxxx

     blacks are so dumb they destroyed their own argument by having the black  funeral director say there were no marks on torvan  from any beating so why would torvan be screaming?? ha ha . 81 average iq crowd. quote: Why would Martin be screaming? He wasn’t getting beaten. Do you think
    Zimmerman turned the tables and drew his gun on Martin and let Martin
    scream for help for 10 seconds before shooting him? It doesn’t make
    sense and that scenario isn’t plausible based on the (limited) facts we
    have at our disposal. Everything we DO know points to Zimmerman being
    the ‘screamer’. Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/05/fingering_zimmerman_payback_for_the_sanford_police_comments.html#disqus_thread#ixzz1teR7XE00

  • Bob Johnson

    I posted this in the comments section under that article, but I’m not sure Jezebel will allow it:

    I think I’m having an “Are We There Yet?” moment. I mean, when racism can be defined as joking with your black friend, I think it’s achieved a degree of innocuousness that makes it insignificant. After all, racism used to be characterized by debilitating laws, poll taxes, beatings and lynchings. Now it’s making your black friend feel a little uncomfortable. I’d say we’re there. We’ve achieved equality. Now we can focus on something besides racism. Now we can free up all that energy to solve the other pressing problems of the world, like overpopulation, hunger, China’s growing influence, peace in the Middle East, renewable energy, etc. This is a happy day.

  • Jay1

    So white hipsters are adopting the lingo of blacks and adding it to their daily discourse and black people are UNHAPPY about it because it makes them (black people) feel like the hipsters are noticing that they (the black people) are —- black!

    You just cannot win.