You Know I'm Black, Right?
"Then they'll say some stupid shit like, 'Oh, Karen, I didn't notice you're black.' Don't say that to black people. We're really codependent and we're worried about your blind ass."
— Karen Williams
When a character says or does something racist, sexist or homophobic in front of the Token Minority
, Token Girl
, or Ambiguously Gay
person, either because they're an Innocent Bigot
or because they said something easily Mistaken for Racist
. Usually, the character will respond with a caustic one-liner like "I'm Standing Right Here
This can be played for laughs with a Token White
. Otherwise, it usually pops up in the Very Special Episode
, after which the characters go back to totally ignoring the issue.
Much more offensive than You Are a Credit to Your Race
The logical conclusion of You Know What They Say About X
. See also Insult Friendly Fire
for this sans racial components.
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Anime and Manga
- A Fantastic Racism example in the 2008 Dragon Ball Z special; upon seeing Tarble's alien wife Gure, Master Roshi comments that "Saiyans pick strange wives", which understandably ticks off Bulma and Chi-Chi, the two human wives of the main (saiyan) characters.
- Downplayed in DC Comics' Steel: Natasha Irons says to her white friend, "Boris, in case you haven't noticed, I'm black", before realising that he's just such a ditz it honestly hasn't occurred to him there's an unfortunate association in giving her a watermelonnote as a gift.
- In New X-Men, Rockslide taunts Anole, who's gay, by calling him a "big sissy". Anole immediately opens up a can of whoopass on him, which is kind of impressive considering Rockslide is twice his size and made out of lava, and Anole isn't exactly the biggest badass on the team. As it happens, Rockslide didn't know and was just being his usual insensitive self, but Anole's not interested in excuses.
- In Quantum and Woody issue #4, Quantum is repeatedly called "noogie" (a substitute for the n-word) several times by a homeless street-dweller. Quantum, whose costume covers his entire face and body, asks the guy how he knows he's black. "You're black? S-Word!"
- He doesn't say anything actually racist, but early in A God Somewhere a white guy is helping his Black Best Friend move to a new place. He opens the box he's been carrying to see a multitude of Black History books inside. Puzzled, he asks his friend why the friend has so many of these books and why he reads them. The friend just looks at him and after a moment the white guy is going "Oh, right..." then tries to explain that he sometimes forgets his friend is black. That doesn't exactly fly either.
- Spider-Man Family #9: Jean Grey of the X-Men gives a speech about how people treat mutants, people always assuming the worst and treating you like a freak and running scared at the slightest provocation...then realises she's talking to Spidey and Bruce Banner. "Oop" indeed.
- Image Comic's dark vigilante Shadowhawk fought an Evil Counterpart named Hawk's Shadow, a white supremacist who targeted criminals, thinking that Shadowhawk was doing the same (in Hawk's Shadow's mind, "non-white" was the same as "criminal"). This led to The Reveal, where Shadowhawk took off his cowl for the first time, revealing that he was black.
- In the film, The Jerk, Navin (played by Steve Martin), after striking it rich, was talking to several financial advisers and people who wanted him to invest his newfound wealth. One guy was suggesting a housing/apartment complex and detailed that they would of course keep the "niggers" away. Navin, who was raised by a black family (oblivious to his own whiteness for decades), snapped at him, saying "Sir, you are talking to a nigger!" and proceeded to kick his ass with martial arts skills not shown before or after in the movie.
- At the beginning of Stand by Me, Chris, Teddy, and Gordie are sitting in their tree-house, playing cards, when Chris decides to tell a joke.
Chris: How do you know if a Frenchman has been in your back yard?
Teddy: Hey, I'm French, okay?
Chris: Your garbage cans are empty and your dog's pregnant.
(Chris and Gordie laugh)
Teddy: Didn't I just say I was French?
- In The Luck of the Irish, Kyle's Love Interest Bonnie tries to inspire him by talking about his Irish roots, pointing out how Irish immigrants would often get low-income jobs because no one wanted to hire them. Cue Kyle's Black Best Friend interrupting her by pointing out that, at least, they got paid. Bonnie shuts up.
- In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Duncan goes off on a rant about the Moors, then off-handedly asks Azeem what kind of name "Azeem" is. When Azeem replies, "Moorish", Duncan is shocked (since Duncan is blind, he didn't know Azeem's ethnicity before that) and slightly terrified (since this film is set during one of the Crusades, there is a Holy War going on between their cultures).
- In Epic, Nod and Ronin's mockery of the "Stomper" (MK's scientist father) and the revelation that they've been misleading him for years doesn't go over well with MK. When she points out that she was a Stomper as well, there's a bit of awkwardness.
- In the second Night Huntress book, Cat gets really pissed about her team's racism against vampires without remembering that she is half-vampire herself.
Live Action TV
- On one of Judge Miliani's cases in Court TV, the plaintiff informed the judge that the defendents were - ugh - lawyers! ...It turns out, so are all judges.
- In a Very Special Episode of Smart Guy, Yvette and her friend Nina get jobs at a small store in the mall, where Nina is given the following job:
Nina: It is my happy task to follow black people around the store to make sure they don't steal.
Yvette: You know this is going to affect our friendship.
- Degrassi The Next Generation, "Pride, part 1": When Paige asks Spinner to carry her beach bag, which happens to be floral patterned, he tells her that he can't, because it make people will mistake him for a "homo". Spinner then realizes it was a mistake to say that in front of Paige's brother, Dylan, who is gay:
Spinner: I didn't mean 'homo' as in 'gay', I mean 'homo' as in...
- Later, Jimmy catches Spinner writing Marco is Gay on a wall in the boy's bathroom, and says, "What are you going to write next? ...Something about me being black?"
- In Angel, Cordelia calls Willow, who has broken up with her boyfriend and acquired a girlfriend in Cordy's absence, to ask her about her old friend Harmony's irritating behavior.
Cordelia: (on the phone)
Oh! Harmony's a vampire
! ...All this time I thought she'd become a great big lesbo! (beat)
Oh. Really? ...well, that's great! Good for you! Willow:
Thanks for the validation.
- The British TV biopic Hughie Green: Most Sincerely has a scene, possibly taken from real life, in which Green and his producer are holding an audition for Green's TV talent show. Green is enthusiastic about one candidate, but his producer says, "You know he's black, don't you?" Green rejects this racist attitude out of hand and passes the candidate over his producer's objections.
- In the original UK version of Queer as Folk, Nathan moans that his best friend wouldn't understand what he's going through because she's straight; she snaps, "I'm black. And I'm a girl. Try that for a week."
- Similarly, Jake in Becker:
"I'm a blind black man, we just sail through life."
- The episode of Yes Dear where Jimmy became a housemate on Big Brother might qualify here. Although nothing offensive was said, when Jimmy asks the resident black, gay housemate his opinion on the attractiveness of a female housemate, he responds with "You know I'm gay, right?". Jimmy attempts to correct himself and restart the conversation by making a remark about one of the men's abs instead.
Black, Gay Guy: (in confessional) That's what I like about Jimmy. He didn't even seem to care that I'm gay... or notice... Tomorrow I'm gonna tell him that I'm black!
- One episode of The George Lopez Show featured a racist scout leader for Max. During a discussion of how one can tell how different marks on an animal show whether they're aggressive, the scout leader compares it to how a cute blonde would be less suspicious than a Mexican. George responds by reminding him that he's Mexican.
Scout leader: I mean, yeah, but I mean, well, not you guys. I mean those "me no speake" Mexicans.
- Somewhat parodied in a deleted scene of Criminal Minds, in which the line was not actually meant to be racist, but is jokingly taken that way. When Reid (white) tricks Morgan (black) into losing at Gin on the plane, he gloats, "When are you people going to learn never to play cards with a magician?" Morgan replies, "What do you mean 'you people'?"
- In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick has this happen to him multiple times in the same few minutes, so, in order to prevent it from happening to him again, he puts a sticky note on his secretary reading 'Nina is Black'. It was actually a running gag that the Solomons literally could not tell the difference, and eventually seemed to conclude the difference was entirely cultural.
- In the Puppy episode of Ellen Ellen discusses coming out to her therapist, who is played by Oprah Winfrey:
Ellen: You don't understand. Do you think I want to be discriminated against? Do you think I want people calling me names to my face?
Therapist: Have people commit hate crimes against you because you're not like them.
Ellen: Thank you.
Therapist: Have to use separate bathrooms and separate water fountains and sit on the back of the bus.
- A literal and funny version on Blind Justice, when Jim (white and blind) jokingly claims that he was unaware of his (black) co-worker Tom's race.
Tom: I'm just a well-rounded brother from East Flatbush.
Jim: You're black?
Tom: (in disbelief) Get the ...
Jim: No, are you serious? You're a black man?
Tom: Jim! You didn't know?
Jim: No. How would I... (gestures to his eyes)
Tom: You just thought you was working with Eminem for the last four months? How could you...
Jim: No, I just ...
Tom: How could you not feel my blackness?
Jim: I thought you were just kinda...groovy.
- From Community a few members of the study group (and Chang) are riffing on a bad movie. The (relatively) Troubled Sympathetic Bigot Pierce tries to do so too, but his horribly racist and sexist attempts somehow fall flat.
Pierce: "Directed by Kim Yang." Asian. Can't drive, can't direct.
Chang: Dude, I'm right here.
- Once on The Daily Show, Aasif Mandvi interviewed a community leader who made anti-Muslim comments to his face. At one point he casually said, "You do know that I'm a Muslim, right?"
- On Psych, there have been a few moments where Gus has to point out to Shawn that he's black, including the Civil War reenactment episode and the time Shawn asked him to investigate a tanning salon.
- Parodied in Rob and Elliot. Elliot makes a joke about a "dumb guy," prompting Rob to blow up in his face: "My mother was dumb! I'm half dumb!"
- In Loserz, when Carrie comments to Alice that her friend Jess coming out of the closet is disturbing, Alice responds with something similar to this trope.
Carrie: Doesn't that freak you out? Isn't that totally gross?
Alice: Let Me Get This Straight
. You're asking one of the only black girls at this school if she should be repulsed by somebody because she's different?
- In this Something Positive strip, a white male Pagan ran across a Davan-created webcomic taking a potshot at Wicca and works himself into a righteous anger over the "persecution":
Pagan: You'll never know what its like to live with the pain of your ancestors being oppressed for who they were! That they lived in fear because they might get lynched! To know that the suffered so I'd have the right to —
(Beat Panel with African-American Wiccan Kim staring at him)
Kim: Do you need some time to comprehend why saying that to me makes you stupid?
Pagan: ...No, I think I've got that figured out.
- Inverted in another: Aubrey is reprimanding one of her employees, who accuses her of being prejudiced against white people. Aubrey points out that she's half-white (the other half is Asian).
- In RPG World, Soldier #347 makes elf jokes to Plum. Due to his poor vision, he doesn't realize Plum is an elf.
- 8-Bit Theater likewise combines this with Fantastic Racism when Red Mage, in the process of explaining one of his needlessly complex and stupid plans, is interrupted by Black Mage, while standing right next to Thief;
Black Mage: Let me stop you right there before I am honor-bound to cut you like an elven whore.
Thief: Hold on. Elven whore? Do I even have to explain why that's offensive to me?
Look, if your mother
had made dresses, I would have called her a tailor instead.
- A Shortpacked! strip has a character express disdain that Bumblebee cannot talk in the Transformers Film Series or Transformers Prime... within earshot of a mute woman. The look on her face tells him how inappropriate that was.
- Minmax in Goblins accidently offends Kin at one point, by using the term 'monster' derogatively towards Dellyn while forgetting that Kin is a Yuan-Ti.
- In Noob, Omega Zell once tried to convince Saphir that she should forget about her drastic criteria for applicants and let him join Justice guild. When he puts forth the fact that he's a Straw Misogynist, Saphir reminds him that she's a woman.
- Prolecto plays this for laughs, when Vivian complains about being judged by her skin color. In this case, being blue. The black officer in front of her coughs.
- On Drawn Together, this is illustrated frequently between Foxxy Love and the (occasionally) overly-naive and sheltered Princess Clara in the series premiere and subsequent episodes.
- Variation from Teen Titans: In one episode where Starfire is the victim of Fantastic Racism, she asks Cyborg if he's ever had to deal with prejudice. Instead of uttering this phrase, he says "Sure I do. I'm part-robot."
- Avatar: The Last Airbender : Toph's friends (especially Sokka) have a tendency to forget that she's blind, since her Disability Superpower is such that it doesn't slow her down much. This tends to lead to many of Toph's great one-liners.
Sokka: Toph, when I was in town, I found something that you're not gonna like.
[Sokka holds up a wanted poster of Toph.]
Toph: Well, it sounds like a sheet of paper, but I guess you're referring to what's on the sheet of paper.
- The Archer episode "Diversity Hire" has a lot of fun with Lana getting this treatment from her coworkers because she views Conway as a possible mole.
Malory: What are you, deaf and racist?
Lana: Racist? I'm black—
Malory: Oh, put it back in the deck.
- My Life as a Teenage Robot: Tuck manages several times in "The Wonderful World of Wizzly".
Jenny: You think you're better than them!
- On King of the Hill, Kahn had a chance to join a ritzy all-Asian country club, but only if he helped get Hank to join as their Token White. When Kahn expresses outrage at Hank's refusal, Hank exasperatedly comments that Kahn "wouldn't understand" his reasoning. An annoyed Kahn responds:
- In an episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, after a human family from the real world drives into the Muskroom Kingdom, the mushroom people start to panic of these strange beings and one of them describes the "monsters" as having "hair on their heads". An annoyed Mario takes his hat off to remind them that he's one of them.
- In Superman: The Animated Series, when Superman teamed up with Robin in order to find out what happened to Bruce Wayne, they discover he may be under an alien mind-control.
Robin: He's really being controlled by aliens? Eugh.
Superman: I'm deeply hurt.
- A lot of fat folk can only look in confusion at friends who say "Oh, don't worry, I don't think of you as fat." when what they actually mean is that they don't think you're ugly or lazy or any of the other associations Those Horrible Fat People have in their mind. A similar thing happens- at least in the current climate- to anyone who's struggling to find work. One gets quite a bit of "Oh, but I don't mean people like you, I mean people who don't want to find work..."
- A lot of people cannot easily be identified as minority members, so this happens to them a lot:
- People from gender, sexual, and romantic minorities (GSRM) get this a lot. For example, unless you're terribly flaming (and sometimes not even then) or have a couple, there's no way to differentiate homosexuals from other people. And no matter what you do, it's impossible to tell if someone's bi. Given the amount of discrimination bisexuals face, this leads to a lot of Bi the Way moments.
- Similarly, this often happens to people with different neurotypes like autism, dyslexia, ADHD, etc., since it's impossible to tell just by looking.
- Some minority groups don't look that different from the majority group. One prominent example is Jewish people, especially in Europe and the United States.