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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hang Your Head/Some Things Never Change/Agitated
Jonah Peretti owns a web site entitled blackpeopleloveus.com. (Link found via Ari Goes Down.) Here's the introduction to the site:

Hi! I'm Sally, and I'm Johnny
Welcome to our website:
Black People Love Us!

We are well-liked by Black people so we're psyched (since lots of Black people don't like lots of White people)!! We thought it'd be cool to honor our exceptional status with a ROCKIN' domain name and a killer website!!

Here are some pictures of Sally and Johnny getting stumped in Pictionary:

Ouch. There have been a variety of reactions:

My boyfriend is in a masters program and has a project to design "an artistic web page. We had a long discussion about his idea--my fear was that it might be viewed as racist, because it would be him representing himself as a "gangsta rapper."

Then he showed me this website. I thought it was clever and had an important message. I, too, was suprised by how many people reacted with such shock (those who assumed that it was very serious and ultimately rascist)....
At first glance this seems like a mockery of the black culture and made by ignorant people, however, it also seems like a mockery of white culture and its ignorance and constant quest to be "hip".
It reminded me of a debate I had at a cocktail party a couple of weeks ago, when a very political friend of my Dad's was trying to hype the inclusiveness of the Republican party, coming to the defense of appointing Condi Rice and Colin Powell by highlighting how 'articulate' they were - he couldn't see how someone might find that seriously denegrating to the average African American, and had no answer as to why there wasn't ONE single member of the GOP, of color in congress...

Has it been that long since Edward Brooke?

Mad props to all my white wanna be actor/writer homies who secretly think this website is much more clever than it actually is.
To take this as a joke, is not funny. Some people really think that you are for real. I just hope you are not people of color,doing this. Yes we all knows how racisms work is this country and AROUND THE WORLD To make fun of it,,just lets people off the hook. The way the world is today, you would think you could be a little bit more sensitive. Some group of people are tried of being the butt of jokes. Yes some white people have been given the power to say and do what they want, to anybody. I love to laugh at jokes but not if it's about making someone else feel bad or less like.
i dont like the fact that you make fun of a serous topic in todays society i can understand what your trying to do and it is very funny but i think its not exactly right coinsidering african americans has been picked at and abused enough i think all we need now is understanding.
Don't give me any crap about this being a satirical site. I get it. It's funny right up until the point where you start being serious with the links to sites that may be of interest to black people. At that point it become a serious political statement.
subversive. Simpsons-esque. there's actually a story in langston hughes' "the ways of white folks" that follows the same theme.
This is a bullshit ass web site if yall was trying to crack jokes or get a laugh u failed miserably. It wasn't funny or in good taste. and the so called black people you got to posse in though pics for u should have they ass whooped for sellin out.
Uhhhhhhh, I happen to be one of the most open minded individuals, with an especially "off the beaten path" sense of humour. But I must say, I find nothing amusing about your site. I am also very interested to find out what race the authors are?

I think that the author is Norwegian. :)

Actually, the author has an mit.edu page that links to some other stuff:

Global capitalism has produced hundreds of millions of bored office workers who sit in front of computers forwarding emails and surfing the web, inadvertently creating the Bored at Work Network (BWN). The BWN has become the largest alternative to the corporate media. Activists, artists, and hackers can reach millions of people through the BWN.

Solo and in collaborative groups, I create content for the BWN, including email forwards, net art, joke web sites, phone lines, and weblogs. These viral projects are examples of what I call "Contagious Media" and this site documents four examples that have reached millions of people: the Nike email, the Rejection Line, Black People Love Us, and Fundrace.org.

These experiments illustrate the practical application of concepts like emergence, 6-degrees of separation, and tipping points. The work starts small and spreads virally to millions of people without any promotions, advertisements, or press releases. In the end, the mass media picks up the story as a trend, and the work is able to permeate the culture at multiple levels.

This low-budget, bottom-up approach makes it possible to create a global cascade that begins with a small group of friends and extends to the set of CNN or the Today Show. These Contagious Media Experiments suggest new opportunities for artists and activists in the networked age.

Well, all things circle around and stuff...I blogged about fundrace back on June 2. This is insular, self-referential, and circular. Heh.

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