'Hey White People!' PSA Is Here to Make You Laugh -- & Rethink Everyday Racism

Jon Batiste, Samuel L. Jackson, and Anthony Anderson on Hey White People

There are big issues that the world needs to address. Yes, we get it. But, there's never a need to be serious 100 percent of the time. It's more than OK to cue the comic relief in your life from time to time -- otherwise things could get pretty bleak, right? Hell, sometimes you can find a way to joke about the issues that seem the most daunting. That's the kind of good giggle we got from "Hey White People!" with Jon Batiste and Friends, which appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.   

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The PSA, with the help of celebs (we're talking about Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart, Samuel L. Jackson, Tituss Burgess, Michael K. Williams, Gayle King, and John Oliver), tackled the everyday, thoughtless racism that occurs -- and they did it through some seriously smart comedy. It made us laugh, all in the name of "healing the racial divide."

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John Batiste introduces the "very important PSA" by acknowledging that "in America it can be difficult to talk about race" -- citing that it's mostly due to slavery. 

Not only did the segment address the stereotypes held against black culture, but also some of the stereotypes that are placed upon white culture. However, it did so in a manner that we could all initially laugh about -- and then hopefully think about and discuss.

Tituss Burgess is demanding to know WTF "racially tinged" means. He hilariously suggests this is a mechanism white people use to avoid calling something racist. From that point on, no topic was left untouched -- from the implication that all black people know each other to some black men being typecast as thugs. There's no denying that the entire 4 minutes and 52 seconds was glorious in the best way possible.

I've said this and I'll say it again -- sometimes joking about difficult topics and even calling out people's ignorance can create much more of a dialogue than finger wagging and a judgmental tone. I think in general people respond better when they don't feel that they're being reprimanded and preached to -- whether that's the intention or not. See for yourself, below. 

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As long as the jokes stay in the realm of tasteful, this may be the way to truly combat some of the more serious race issues in the world. And sure, they're talking about some of the smaller instances that contribute to everyday prejudices -- but in acknowledging the small things, it makes room for everyone to realize the larger problem. If people aren't even aware that some of the things they say on a day-to-day basis are offensive (er, racist), then they certainly won't be able to acknowledge or own up to the part they play in some of the greater issues at hand. 

I'm certainly not saying that this will cut racial tension overnight, but what if we laughed more in the process of learning rather than have issues turn into debates about white entitlement and other problems that many have yet to fully grasp? I think it might just make the world a better place, but perhaps that's just my wishful thinking. 

 

Image via Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Global Citizen; Jackie Brown / Splash News; Splash News

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