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Pretty Fly for a White Guy

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"S'up, homies?"

"Officer, you only pulled me over because I think I'm black."
MAD spoof of 8 Mile

If you're not particularly xenophobic or ethnocentric, you might find parts of other cultures to be interesting or cool. So you might have the urge to at least once in a while try to imitate part of that culture, like the dialect, slang, or accent. Now the problem is that you don't have a deep understanding of the culture's origins and meanings, so you should at least pay close attention to what you are about to imitate, preferably with some practice beforehand.

If you don't, you will look silly at the very least imitating shallow and superficial elements of a particular culture. Worse, in fiction (and on the Internet), wars have started that way.

The most common form of this is likely just trying to imitate an accent. The most notorious form is middle class suburban white kids imitating the urban black culture. Note that it's the middle-class culture, not the race, that determines whether someone's a poser. You can be Asian, Native American, Ambiguously Brown, or even African American, and still not be able to imitate the urban culture. The end result of this usually sounds Totally Radical to natives of said culture. These people are sometimes called "wiggers", a portmanteau of combining the words "white" (or "wannabe" since the person in question may not be white) and a certain racial slur that white people generally avoid using (except for these guys, often with hilarious consequences).


Another variation is white people, usually otaku, who are obsessed with Japanese culture. These people are often called "Wapanese" or, due to the efforts of 4chan, "weeaboos."note 

Contrast Mighty Whitey for when a white person enters a non-white culture and becomes its greatest member, and The Whitest Black Guy for when one has trouble fully-identifying with one's own group. In terms of gender, Camp Gay and Camp Straight can be described as Pretty Feminine for a Man (or Pretty Gay for a Straight Guy in the latter case), while the Butch Lesbian and The Lad-ette can be described as Pretty Masculine for a Woman.


See also White Gangbangers.


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  • In a series of commercials for T-Mobile, a gang of these represent their fictional competitor, Poser Mobile, in an obvious Take That! against the hip-hop-themed ads for Sprint's Boost Mobile prepaid service.
  • One Holiday Inn Express commercial shows a shrimpy white guy in a button-down shirt and glasses carrying his dry cleaning home, only for a black youngster and his friends to pick on him by freestyling about how corny he looks. The white guy then hands one of them his dry cleaning and proceeds to rap circles around them for a good minute, concluding that he could because he got a good night's sleep at Holiday Inn Express last night, leaving them all speechless.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bet you didn't see this coming did you? Actually, the "classic" depiction of Japanese Delinquents (face masks, triangle shades, pompadours, sarashi, etc...) in anime has decreased quite a bit in recent years, having been replaced by pierced youth in baggy "urban" wear (at mildest) to even full-blown "gangsta"-wannabes at worst.
  • In the Death Note manga, some of Mello's dialogue was translated in this manner by some English translators, who felt that this was the best (or at least closest) translation to Mello's extremely informal speech pattern. (Only in some manga translations, not any official translation of the anime.) Interestingly, he seems to adopt a (somewhat) more formal speech pattern (and thus loses this one in the translations) after he gets hurt in an explosion he created.
  • Durarara!! had a bunch of them in episode 3.
    • Most infamously, the memetic "Hiroshi": "Yo, Yo, YO! HEY MAN!"
    • As Simon (the only ACTUAL black person in the show) best put it, "Unfortunately there are guys like these in every country."
  • Agon of Eyeshield 21 dresses and behaves somewhat like a gangster, though he at least has the sense not to talk like one. Still, even by Eyeshield standards, he looks rather silly with his long dreads, gold chain, and baggy pants.
  • Peepo Choo has Morimoto "Rockstar", an Ax-Crazy yakuza boss who insists on dressing and acting like his own somewhat-distorted idea of an African-American hip-hop gangster.
  • Some of Kenji's buddies in My Little Monster.
  • Pokémon XY, of all things, features a pair of kids with backwards hats constantly spouting "YO YO YO!" while striking goofy poses and pointing, at least in the Japanese version.

    Comic Books 
  • Boogeyman of Milestone's Blood Syndicate was the Token White of the predominantly black and Latino team of ex-gangbangers. His power is that he was a were-rat, meaning that the rest of the team doesn't even know he's white. He hangs with the Syndicate because it excites him — unlike the rest of the group, he comes from a stable middle-class household. He also talks like he just stepped out of a rap video, though this might be his way of disguising his race.
  • In an issue of Gotham Central, Detectives Romy Chandler and Marcus Driver are chasing a couple of teenage white kids who speak and dress like hip-hoppers. When the kids get caught they profess their innocence and Romy points out that they assaulted an officer, which would mean time in juvie, where "you can see how much real brothers like rich white kids co-opting their culture, 'dog.'"
  • Punchy in The Intimates doesn't dress like a wannabe hood rat, but definitely talks like one. He does so to put on a "tough" or "cool" front. Other characters notice, and sometimes even insult him for it.
  • Lampshaded in The Ray:
    Ray: You know a lot of black guys, don't you?
    Hank: "MTV".
    Ray: Got it.
  • Robin (1993): One of Robin's informers is a white blonde dude who goes by Killa Nilla, wears heavy gold chain jewelry and talks like an exaggerated stereotype of a black rapper. He tends to get beat up a lot and think himself way tougher than he is.
  • The Vampirella/Painkiller Jane crossover had the Big Bad Eddie Sangfroid aka Eddie the Fourth who acted like this. He dropped the act, however, when the heroines foiled his plans.
  • Pops up from time to time in the Swedish underground comic Rocky.
  • Phat from X-Statix is the scion of a rich family who poses as a hood rat as a ploy to get into what was at the time X-Force. It worked fantastically; evidently, none of his teammates ever suspected he wasn't actually born and raised in an impoverished inner city home. Angry Black Man teammate the Spike has a problem with the Anarchist, an adopted black man raised by white parents, but not Phat.

    Comic Strips 
  • Zits does this a number of times as well.
    Walt: "What? Don't people say Wazzup Dawg anymore?"
    Jeremy: "Dad, do us all a favor and talk like the middle-aged white guy you are."

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 10 Things I Hate About You: When Michael is showing Cameron around the school, one of the cliques he points out is the White Rastas, who "think they're black" but "mostly smoke a lot of weed." Mr. Morgan later calls the Rastas out for their appropriation in the same breath he as rips into Kat Stratford for the pettiness and privilege of her constant agitating:
    Mr. Morgan: I know how difficult it must be for you to overcome all those years of upper-middle-class suburban oppression. Must be tough. But the next time you storm the PTA crusading for better... lunch meat, or whatever it is you white girls complain about, ask them WHY they can't buy a book written by a black man!
    White Rastas: That's right mon!
    Mr. Morgan: Don't even get me started on you two.
  • Bamboozled: Spike Lee's scathing film has a spectrum of these characters, including a black TV executive acting painfully white, his white boss acting painfully black, a multiethnic gangsta rap band living up to all the wrong stereotypes (one of whom is white, yet protests that he's black while being busted by a cop who actually is black), and a TV show that's based around minstrel-show caricatures yet winds up being a hit with audiences of all ethnicities.
  • Barbershop: Features a white guy who actually is from the streets and thus dresses, speaks and acts accordingly - who is offended when a nerdy middle-class black guy implies he's somehow pretending to be something he's not based solely on the color of his skin.
  • Bones (2001): Downplayed with Tia, who comes from a predominantly white gated community. She doesn't use African-American slang, but does wear inner city-style sunglasses and head kerchiefs, while being fully on board with Patrick's plan to revitalize the African-American neighborhood he grew up in by opening a nightclub there. In her first scene, she's also wearing a tank top with pictures of a black celebrity on it.
  • Bulworth: Has Warren Beatty, of all people, becoming one of these as a result of a Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis. He was a US Senator with falling popularity ratings until he snaps and randomly starts rapping at his campaign appearances (he even manages to seduce Halle Berry's character), and it culminates in a TV talk show appearance where he claims that the solution to racism is genetic mixing until "everyone's the same color." Then he gets mysteriously assassinated.
  • Can't Hardly Wait: Almost got a couple of kids beat up when they say to some of their black classmates, "What's up with my niggas!"
  • In the mockumentary The Compleat Al, this trope is invoked by Ebony magazine with the cover "Weird Al: The Next Best Thing To Being Black".
  • Crossroads: The lead character idolizes blues music, but he looks at it as purely an art form. It only penetrates that the blues is a state of mind and heart when the love interest abandons him without even saying goodbye.
  • Detour: Hoopz. Surprisingly, he survives the entire film.
  • Dirty Love: Carmen Electra plays the protagonist's Token Black Friend. Yeah.
  • Down To Earth (2001): Chris Rock plays a stand-up comedian who dies and whose soul is put into the body of a wealthy middle-aged white guy. So, now you got a typical white board member acting and talking like, well, Chris Rock. To everyone but him, he looks like a typical example of this trope. He even gets punched out once by a pair of black guys for singing along to "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" in a public place, and the audience's reaction when he goes to a comedy club at a black neighborhood and starts to deliver his usual routine is priceless. Then there is an attempt by the white guy's wife (played by Jennifer Coolidge) to act "street" to get his attention.
  • Shaun Armstrong in Fresh Meat is a white, middle-class suburban kid who keeps talking about having 'a Maori heart', peppers his speech with Maori phrases, and keeps telling his Maori neighbours the Cranes about the various Maori rituals he has participated in.
  • The Ghost Goes West: A rather interesting one. Mr. Martin, a Capitalist American, wears a kilt even though he doesn't have one ounce of Scottish blood. Then, when Donald Glourie, an actual Scotsman, shows the tradition of having bagpipers play before dinner, Martin does the same thing when he introduces his new castle in Florida except with jazz musicians. Which comes off as Americanized cultural appropriation of In-universe Scottish traditions.
  • Girls Trip: Ryan's assistant/agent is played by Kate Walsh and tries to be "down" with her boss. Emphasis on "tries." It's more "trying to relate" than full-on "cultural appropriate."
  • Gran Torino: Parodied, where a young white man's pretending to be black first just pisses off three actual black youths, and then earns him a scathing assessment from Walt (Clint Eastwood). Especially funny in that the white youth in question is played by Eastwood's son.
  • Hidalgo: An Arabian sheik is fascinated by American culture and anything related to cowboys.
  • Idiocracy: Collins. Interestingly, he seems to hit it off pretty well with Upgrayedd ("With two D's for a 'double dose' of his pimping"), if his slide show is anything to go by. Part of the reason that the plot happens, furthermore, is that Collins ends up getting arrested by military police. It's implied that he took to the pimping lifestyle a little too closely...
  • The Last Dragon: Both plays this straight with a trio of Asian rapper wannabes and reversed with Bruce Leroy, who does the same with Chinese culture.
  • Malibu's Most Wanted: The entire movie. This also applies to one of the black actors hired to portray thugs from the hood. Being a trained actor, he doesn't know much about life in the hood. He is even shown reading an urban dictionary at one point, trying to learn words like "wack" and "dis".
  • Marci X: Has to show, on stage at a rap concert, that she is real. She succeeds.
  • Motor Home Massacre: Lincoln. Unlike the above, this slasher does not make the mistake of letting this obnoxious character live.
  • Not Another Teen Movie: Made fun of this, but with a white kid trying to be Chinese as an inversion of Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles. He calls a group of Asian students "chinks" and is promptly kicked in the face. In the opening scenes, he gets picked on by some white kids who think they're black.
    White Guy: Damn, Shorty, dawg is pretendin' to be all Asian, and shit.
    Even Whiter Guy: That Cracka is white! Can't he see dat yo?
  • The Onion Movie: Has a young white man who goes around pretending he's black... who later gets arrested by two racist cops and jailed for a crime he didn't commit based on the 'colour of his skin'.
  • Queens Logic: Both played straight and averted. Eliot (John Malkovich) describes his friend Denny (Kevin Bacon) as having "problems"; "He's a white man who thinks he's James Brown."
    • Al (Joe Mantegna), on the other hand, averts the trope:
    Grace: Got stress, huh?
    Al: (as hip-hop plays in the background) Who wouldn't? This music would make Will Rogers punch a nun!
  • Quigley Down Under: The Australian Marston is obsessed with The Wild West.
  • Saving Private Ryan: A German soldier is captured by Americans. Fearing execution, he starts sucking up to them by talking about American pop culture and butchering the Star-Spangled Banner.
  • Scary Movie 3: has a subplot spoofing 8 Mile. George Bitner is a whitebread farm boy who has two black best friends and participates in rap battles. When his older brother denounces his interests, George declares "You just hate me cuz I'm black."
  • Scooby-Doo: The teens leaving the mysterious island all appear to fit this trope, despite being predominantly white. They're actually demons disguised as "typical American teenagers", studying "proper slang" to fit in.
  • Stiletto: The gangster known as Large Bills used to be associated with a Neo-Nazi biker gang until he he abandoned them to ally with a black gang because it was more profitable. He has assimilated well, and become a big fan of black culture (with one character even stating Large bills wishes he could actually be black. He seems to have been accepted by his new allies who even afford him N-Word Privileges.
  • Stranger Than Paradise: An interesting variety of this is Willy, a Hungarian immigrant to the United States who considers himself assimilated into American culture... which he apparently defines as acting like a 1950s beatnik.
  • Il était une fois dans l'oued: About a Frenchman who adopts an Arab lifestyle and moves to Algeria. He tries to convince everyone he's the real thing even though he doesn't look Arab at all. (For the sake of accuracy, it is worth noting that there are some people in Algeria whose features are European and who may even have blond hair, but the film doesn't dwell on this).
  • Teen Witch: This very eighties movie involved rapping by very white people. However, hip hop was still a very young genre at the time of filming, with many of its conventions still unformed, so it's more a case of Totally Radical.
  • Tour de Pharmacy: This is an Exaggerated Trope with Marty, who is a white person of American descent born and raised in Nigeria and touts being the first Nigerian in the Tour de France (and when Slim Robinson, an African-American wins, he bemoans the fact that an African such as himself didn't win). In reality, he attended American schools and didn't interact with any actual black Nigerians.
  • Transformers:
    • The movie brings us Jazz, an alien robot who deliberately takes on Jive Turkey mannerisms, as Optimus noted that they learned Earth's languages from the web.
    • When Sam Witwicky is being questioned by the police, he sees one of the cop's guns, and that cop says, "You eyein' my piece, 50 Cent?" Sam lampshades the line, and the short rant that follows, with, "Are you on drugs?"
    • In the sequel Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, the Twins are meant to be this according to Word of God. And since, functionally, they're callously imitating black culture as they see it on TV and such, this makes sense. However, as they were neither white nor black but bright orange and bright green, there was little physical anchor for the joke, meaning that most people who saw the movie thought they were meant to be caricatures of actual hood rats.
  • True Romance: The pimp played by Gary Oldman believes that he's black, but he's actually a mix of several races. He makes a great show of incorporating stereotypically black speech mannerisms, wears dreadlocks, and makes racist comments against white people he meets.
  • Undercover Brother.
    • White supremacist Mr. Feather constantly seems to have to battle to suppress an urge to be one of these. This causes him some stress.
    You see what's happening, don't you?! How we're being corrupted by their hipper-than-thou fashion and cool slang you can't help but use?!
    • The Man as well, as revealed at the end.
  • Us: Winston may be a black man, but he's a decidedly upper-middle-class black man who drives a luxury SUV and owns a lake house and a boat. We see him early on playing the classic '90s rap song "I Got 5 on It" on the car's stereo and singing along, to which his kids respond with embarrassment. He makes for a sharp contrast with his "tethered" double Abraham, who exhibits all the characteristics of a Scary Black Man.
  • Zebrahead: Zack is a white Jewish boy who talks like a black guy, listens to black musicians, and records rap music. Those traits combines with his friendship with Dee and romance with Nikki, who are both black, lead some of his classmates to accuse him of wanting to be black, although he says he's just being himself.

  • The earlier Adrian Mole books contained the character of Adrian's classmate Danny: who was possibly a white kid who had dreadlocks, wrote reggae music and spoke in a poor imitation of Jamaican Patois. He even referred to Adrian as a "honky". Adrian's response: "What a cheek, he's twice as white as I am!" (However, Adrian also refers to Danny as "the albino rasta"; whether this was just a sarcastic reference to his whiteness, or really indicated he was albino [and therefore may have actually been Afro-Caribbean despite appearing "white"] is unclear.)
  • In Catch-22 they obviously hate Yossarian because he's Assyrian. Even if he's not. He isn't too serious about it, though.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld
    • This mindset is satirised in the character of Ms. Estressa Partleigh, who despite being human leads a dwarf activist group demanding equal rights and an end to discrimination. The Dwarf-Human thing is used as a Fantasy Counterpart exploring questions of race, ethnicity, and identity; there are humans who are accepted as part of dwarf society because they follow dwarf ritual (Carrot, Pepe), and it's implied that Ms. Partleigh doesn't, and most dwarfs ignore the Campaign for Equal Heights as politely as possible.
    • There's also Vampire Vannabe Doreen Winkins, who's Pretty Bat for a Live Girl. In her case, the ultimate irony is that the group she's a member of (the Überwald League of Temperance) mostly consists of vampires who are trying to move away from all the stereotypes she enthusiastically embraces. Doreen's husband actually is a vampire (factually but not culturally) and resents/resists Doreen's efforts to make him act more like she thinks he "should".
  • The narrator/protagonist/author self-insert of Eat, Pray, Love sometimes invokes this trope - especially during her contemplations on Indian spirituality.
  • In another 40k story, the novelization of Fire Warrior, a group of Tau ambassadors meet with imperial Space Marines to negotiate a cease-fire. The Tau are dressed in facsimiles of Imperial officer uniforms, but the medals and other finery are so crude that the Marines have to restrain themselves from bursting out laughing.
  • A fantastic version appears in For The Emperor. Part of the population of Gravalax, due to being close to the Tau territories, absorbed their ideals and customs and looks up to them. Some go as far as to paint their skin blue. Justified: actually it's the Tyranid infiltration stirring up the Fantastic Racism.
  • In the Spenser books by Robert B. Parker, Tony Marcus, the black crimelord, has a white son-in-law who considers himself "spiritually black" and acts accordingly. Tony would have him killed, except that his only daughter has taken it into her head to love the fool. Tony calls this character a "blackberry", which is a little politer than "wigger", but still prompts Spenser to exclaim "There's a word for people like that!?"
  • In The Wheel of Time, after the Aiel conquer Cairhien for the second time in living memory, many young Cairhienen take to imitating Aiel dress and culture, organizing themselves into warrior societies in imitation of them, and attempting to follow (sometimes heavily modified versions of) ji'e'toh, the elaborate Aiel Code of Honor and etiquette. Reactions from the Aiel range from deep offense to mild exasperation to sometimes-earnest, sometimes-patronizing attempts to teach them how to more authentically follow Aiel customs. This is something of an inversion of the usual pattern of a more-powerful culture appropriating a less-powerful one due to exoticism or fetishization; here, it's more about a conquered culture developing an inferiority complex and figuring the conquerors must be doing something right.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Shmulie and David (both Orthodox Jews) in the 2 Broke Girls episode "And the Kosher Cupcakes", when their mother's not around.
  • In the "Miracle on 134th Street" episode of Amen, Santa visits the Frye house and encounters the streetwise Clarence, who speaks to him in typical hip-hop lingo. Reuben suggests that Santa doesn't understand, but Santa informs him, "I'm down with all the speak, dude!"
    "May you and your crew be kicking! And your Christmas live! Hit me with vibe!" (They exchange high fives)
  • Olive Doyle on A.N.T. Farm "has spit fire into the mic" on more than one occasion.
  • Fraser, the 'headmaster' of Abbey Grove School in Bad Education certainly counts. This is also deconstructed, as he is generally considered by the rest of the cast to be an incompetent Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon decides the best way to thank the HR director Mrs. Davis (who happens to be black) for recommending him for tenure is to attempt to do an urban handshake and call her "sister."
  • Jesse on Breaking Bad is an interesting variationnote . He plays it straightest in the early seasons, dressing and acting in a stereotypically "street" way, emulating the drug culture he's been immersed in for seemingly his entire adult life, although his background is affluent. Unlike most examples, he never fully "breaks character" and acts according to his culture of origin, and in fact, in later seasons when he stops acting quite so aggressively "street," he still falls back into street lingo during moments of extreme stress. As far as the viewer can tell, his drug-culture identity is entirely internalized and to that extent is just as genuine as the more moderate (but not fully affluent or "white") cultural identity he sometimes displays. In this way, it's almost more like the phenomenon of "code-switching" that bi- or multi-cultural people sometimes display.
  • Boardwalk Empire has the bootlegger Mieczyslaw Kuzik who changed his name to Mickey Doyle to better fit in with the Irish gangsters running Atlantic City. He is constantly mocked for it. However, he does not try to act particularly 'Irish' probably because the people he is trying to imitate are well-integrated Irish-Americans who do not fit the stereotypes.
  • Chappelle's Show:
    • Clayton Bigsby, a Blind Black Guy who doesn't know he's black and became a white supremacist, is being driven around by his friend and they pass a convertible full of white teens listening to rap. Assuming they're black, he leans out the window and yells racial abuse at them. Far from being offended, the teens are absolutely thrilled, thinking that this random black guy they've never seen before calling them the N-word means that they're street enough to have earned his approval.
    • Parodied with the "I Know Black People" sketch, which was a game show asking mostly white contestants about black culture. Many of them fell into this trope and some would get basic questions wrong. However, a Running Gag was that they would get the answers right because the answers to the questions would frequently be basic answers like "I don't know".
  • Ali G from Da Ali G Show is a Jewish guy acting the part of a stereotypical white middle-class wannabe who actually expects people to believe he's a black man from the ghetto. Ta-daa!
  • Mr. Drummond and Kimberly on Diff'rent Strokes occasionally.
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter when he tries to speak Pidgin.
  • One episode of Everybody Loves Raymond spoofed this trope. Ray's brother Robert, desperate to fit in with his African-American partner on the police force and her friends, spends most of the episode trying to act stereotypically "black." Raymond and the rest of the family are bewildered by this. At the end of the episode, Robbie's partner reveals to Ray that Robbie's new behavior is annoying and offending her friends, unsurprisingly. When Ray tells Robert about this, it results in the classic line:
    Ray: We're Italian, Robert. "Whack" means something else to us!
  • Buckwild from Flavor of Love. Every single black person on the show calls her out on it. She has a hilarious Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping moment when she gets angry enough to forget her ghetto act.
  • During a Courtroom Episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will takes the stand and speaks to the judge—a classic WASPy old guy—in stereotypical hip-hop lingo. While the man doesn't respond in kind, he clearly understands everything Will says, indicating this trope.
  • In Girl Friends, bi-racial Lynn's white adoptive sister is this, to the point where she criticizes Black women like Lynn and Joan for not being Black enough. She also thinks she has N-Word Privileges. She does not.
    Lynn: You've gone too far this time! You're not Black! Stop trying to be Black!
    Tanya: Oh, ain't this a trip. All of a sudden you're the authority on what's black? You— two years ago you were a biracial grunge girl, and a couple years before that, you were just some preppy white girl.
    Lynn: That doesn't matter, because when you use that word, only one of us gets hurt. And there is pain behind it that you will never know!
  • In Artie's case on Glee: White, nerdy, and wheel-chair bound, he frequently slips into stereotypically "black" slang (usually Rule of Funny), and it's fully expected that this trope is in full play.
  • On The George Lopez Show, one of the factory workers named Marisol (who is Mexican) has an ex-boyfriend who harasses her at the factory. He is a white guy who talks with a Chicano accent and dresses like a wannabe thug. George even refers to him as "Slim Shady".
  • Sebastian, alias C-Bass, from Halfway Home may be an actual black guy and he may be an actual convict. But he's from a very rich family and he went to prison for identity theft. His protests that living in a very big house can be inconvenient don't help the image he's attempting to cultivate.
  • iCarly: Sam Puckett shows she has flows and thus is also pretty fly.
  • Jon Stewart mocks this in one of his more recent stand-up routines. He says that middle-class people (not just white people) shouldn't try to talk like inner-city gangsters, because they have no connection to that culture aside from what they see on TV. It would make as much sense for them to talk like a pirate (Talk Like a Pirate Day notwithstanding).
    "How was the party?" " 'Twas a fine shindig indeed, arrrr!"
  • The Law & Order: Criminal Intent, episode "Watch" had the detectives investigating the murder of a black prostitute at an airport and aimed their suspicions towards a white mechanic accused of making racial slurs. It turns out he's just a durag-sporting wannabe rapper who thought he had N-Word Privileges.
    • "Mad Hops" showed Detective Robert Goren to be surprisingly adept at Basketball court Trash Talk, cuing a jokey Mass "Oh, Crap!" from the kids on the court and one of them throwing him the ball.
    "Nice kicks, where'd you get the laces, from a telephone pole?"
  • MADtv had a spoof of Limp Bizkit's "Rollin'", titled "Posin'", which opens with Will Sasso as Fred Durst addressing his fanbase of "angry suburban white boys" how they can be "funky, fly, and fresh like your bitch ass", to which he replies, "act like you're black." The rest of the video has him decking out a pair of fratbros in gold chains and teaching them how to act "street", causing one of the backup dancers to start shaking her head.
  • Bozz Bishop from Nash Bridges.
  • This happens to Dr. Joel Fleischman in the Northern Exposure episode "The Mystery of the Old Curio Shop", when Fleischman tries to connect with the "Hebrew Heritage" of Cicely, Alaska. This is slightly subverted by the fact that Fleischman is himself Jewish, yet is still berated for trying to "act Jewish".
  • David Apolskis on Prison Break. An inmate in the Fox River max-security prison which (like most real-world prisons) is divided along racial lines, he quickly becomes rejected by both black inmates for trying to affiliate himself with them, and by white inmates for trying to affiliate himself with black inmates, earning him the nickname "Tweener" (In-Betweener). Lampshaded by T-Bag, the leader of a white racist gang:
    T-Bag: "The boy sure seems confused about his pigmentation."
  • In an episode of Reba Reba temporarily takes in a black family who were displaced after Hurricane Katrina (the show took place in Houston). Barbara Jean then turns into this, braiding her hair in cornrows and acting like one stereotype after another. Reba chastises her for this ("You are the whitest person in Texas! You are the whitest person in Holland! Stop that!") At the end of the episode, they receive a letter from the family when they move back to rebuild, and they ask Barbara Jean to visit, since they keep telling people about her, but everybody assumes they're making her up.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • One skit (in the episode hosted by John Mulaney) had a white guy going to the wedding of one of his African-American girlfriend's relatives. He's nervous that he won't fit in, but ends up hitting it off and getting along with everyone better than she does.
    • The "Samurai Night Fever" sketch has Futaba (John Belushi) as an Italian-American youth who affects being a samurai 24/7. His brother (O.J. Simpson) takes this trope to the logical extreme; he decided (and somehow managed) to actually be black back in the '60s.
  • J.D.'s attempts in Scrubs at acting black usually fall disastrously short. Turk is generally more successful but is nonetheless called on this behavior when Dr Cox claims Turk isn't really black. Some of Dr. Cox's evidence is that Turk has a geeky white best friend, listens to Neil Diamond, and acts like a black guy, all of which are traits seen in white guys. Dr. Cox also mentions that Turk is merely the tenth best basketball player out of the mostly white hospital staff. This is partly a result of the show's shifting characterization and Flanderization: early seasons played off the Salt and Pepper pairing of JD and Turk much more, with Turk having a much more authentically "urban" persona with a geeky, nerdy streak. Then there was that time Turk got schooled on black culture by the two whitest chicks in the hospital.
  • She's Gotta Have It: Dean is White but acts and dresses stereotypically Black. He also has a wife who's Black.
  • Skins plays with this a little. Jal's two brothers have a white friend who fits this perfectly. Somewhat subverted, in that the brothers' own attempts at being "street" are shown to be just as ludicrous.
  • This type is rather common among the miscreants seen on TruTV's Speeders or The Smoking Gun Presents.
  • One episode of Star Trek: Voyager has a sci-fi example, the Doctor creates a holographic family for himself, and his son starts hanging out with a bunch of Klingon kids, dressing like them, doing his hair like them, and even carrying Klingon knives. For an added level of meta-tude, Klingons are Rubber-Forehead Aliens usually played by black actors.
  • Super Store has Cheyenne's baby-daddy-turned-husband Bo, who is a pretty straight-up example.
  • In The Thick of It, Oxbridge-educated posh boy Olly sometimes tries to put on a humourous Jafakean accent. The effect is ludicrous:
    "Ah'm from Lincolnshire, wiv all da windmills and da potatoes and da shit..."
  • J-Roc from Trailer Park Boys does this and legitimately thinks he is black, which the other park residents have all accepted by now. Hilariously, before he got into rap, Jamie used to dress and act extremely white... and so did his actually black friend Tyler (who now goes by "Tyrone" or simply "T"). J-Roc briefly reverted back to being Jamie after suffering a Heroic BSoD when one of his favourite rappers told him he wasn't black. His mother made him feel better by telling him she dated a lot of black guys around the time he was conceived, so he is probably half-black. Though she could have just been making it up.
  • Twenties: Courtney, a white woman, imitates black vernacular a bit (calling black main character Hattie her “sister” for instance) and seems to hang out only with black people. They seem okay with it, although slightly put off at times.
  • In Two and a Half Men, Jake starts talking like this after watching MTV Cribs:
    Jake: Yo, this sculpture's off the HOOK, yo!!
    Charlie: Jake, I'm not gonna say this again; you're a pasty white kid. Start acting like one!!
  • Played for Laughs as much as everything else on Whose Line Is It Anyway? by pretty much everyone except Wayne Brady (the token black guy). Highlights include Ryan and Colin rapping and Greg being told to play "a goofy white guy desperately trying to act street" (Greg's response: "But I need a character!"). Also Inverted once with Wayne, when it's mentioned that he lives in the predominantly white neighborhood Sherman Oaks.
  • A common Butt-Monkey in The Wire (often White Gangbangers), with various such characters getting called out on it by Nick Sobotka, Herc, and Carver.
    • In the second season, the police investigate the white drug dealers in the neighborhoods near the docks. This means, in a reversal of the first season, the white Herc is the one undercover making the buys while Kima and Carver do the remote surveillance. Early on, after watching one of the dealers, dressed like the black kids we saw dealing in the projects, talk to a customer (also white) in the same language, down to calling him "nigga", Carver observes that white people will steal anything from black people.
  • Political news host Ari Melber on MSNBC tends to quote lyrics from rap and hip-hop songs to highlight his points Once per Episode. Ari, as you might have guessed from his name, is Jewish, but unlike most of the examples here, he doesn't affect an accent or mannerism, and has cited from more obscure, non-mainstream songs, sometimes even giving context to the deeper meanings behind the lyrics, showing that he really does know and love this stuff.

  • The Afromen had some fun with this in "Because We're Too White" with their repeatedly stated (and demonstrated) incapacity for doing anything considered the least bit black.
  • Iggy Azalea has faced criticism for this, as she opts to use an American accent in her raps, specifically AAVE and making some dubious lyrical choices about race.
    • The fact that she didn't originally rap, but did Britney Spears-esque pop singing, and likely switched to rapping due to how bad she was at singing, makes one question her claims that she supposedly "moved to America to be a rapper".
  • Justin Bieber could be described as this when you take into account his clothing and manner of speech — in particular, his overuse of the word "shawty".
  • David Bowie's short film Jazzin' for Blue Jean (an extended music video for the single "Blue Jean") has his Straw Loser protagonist Vic trying to ingratiate himself with a black bouncer at a club he's trying to get into, with results that smack of this trope. He thinks Malcolm X is a band and claims he caught their tour and seems to be confusing Jesse Jackson with Michael Jackson! Bowie himself had a huge amount of appreciation for Black culture, and Vic's cluelessness about that very topic ties in with his characterization as a direct antithesis of his actor.
  • According to Cage, Rick Rubin attended one of Cage's early performances, dismissed Cage as "a wigga", and walked out.
  • Similar to the Madonna example, One-Hit Wonder Bobby Caldwell faced this with his 1978 R&B hit, "What You Won't Do for Love". Record labels wanted to avoid this trope, so they didn't put his face on the album cover because they feared it would scare off black audiences. When he toured with Natalie Cole, audiences were shocked that he was actually a white man.
  • An Older than You Think example can be found in the 1950s Italian song "Tu vuo fa L´Americano" ("So You Want to Be American?") by Renato Carosone note , which describes a guy who desperately tries to be trendy by imitating an American lifestyle (wearing American clothing brands, dancing to rock'n'roll, playing baseball, using half-baked English, drinking whiskey and soda, smoking Camel cigarettes, et cetera), despite being an Italian dude from Naples who still lives with (and mooches off) his parents.
  • Record producer Diplo has been accused of appropriating Jamaican culture with his reggae/dancehall-inspired Major Lazer project.
  • Eminem. While he would be looked up to as an idol by pretty much everyone on this list and even wore an Africa pendant during high school (which he describes in his Cringe Comedy song "Yellow Brick Road"), it should be noted that he came from an impoverished background and was engrossed in Detroit's hip-hop scene instead of simply imitating it. It helps that he stopped wearing baggy sweats, do-rags and the like around the time of 2010's Recovery.
  • Ariana Grande was accused of "blackfishing" after she dyed her hair black, got a fake tan that rendered her darker than Nicki Minaj at the 2016 MTV awards, and adopted a "blaccent" to go along with the look.
  • Grottomatic has produced its fair share of soul music, mostly because Tim Stevens, who is white, listened to a lot of jazz, soul, and hip-hop in his younger years and took a lot of influence from it.
  • MC Hammer got this reaction with the 1994 album The Funky Headhunter. He actually was a black man who, much like Jennifer Lopez below, grew up in the ghetto (Oakland, California in his case), and behind the scenes, he had connections to genuine criminals. However, he had built his career as a clean-cut, goofball pop-rapper, and so the attempt to shift to a Darker and Edgier style and sound in order to jump onto the Gangsta Rap bandwagon was seen by many as a last gasp at relevancy. His career tanked as a result.
  • Hollywood Undead, especially in their early albums, exhibits this trope all over the music with the over-the-top way they act and their use of word "gangsta". In an interesting example of Zigzagged Trope, some of the band members fit the surburban wannabe stereotype, while others came from impoverished and crime ridden neighboorhoods.
  • A non-urban version is lampooned in Alan Jackson's 1994 hit song "Gone Country", although the song is often misinterpreted as being in favor of such a masquerade.
  • Tom Kaulitz, a German guitar player who has had his hair both in dreadlocks and cornrows and always sports clothes about 100 times too baggy for him. He even has his own shoe.
  • White rapper Kreayshawn (born Natassia Zolot) received a lot of criticism for this, being accused of appropriating black culture. This criticism of her says that even the way she dresses is a Double Standard, stating that, if a black female rapper were to do the same thing, she'd be accused of being ghetto and uneducated.
    • The Game made a diss track against Kreayshawn for precisely this reason, accusing her of needless cultural appropriation. It's entitled "Uncle Otis", and (as the title suggests) he's basically accusing her of reverse Uncle Tomfoolery.
    • To her credit, she has never actually said "nigga"; instead, it was one of her friends, and Zolot has made her displeasure about both being Mis-blamed and her friend's use of the word known. The complaints about her appropriation of the "sista" archetype, on the other hand, are still very valid.
  • Jennifer Lopez's single "Jenny from the Block" produced a strange example of this. Lopez grew up in the Bronx, but by the time she released "Jenny from the Block", she was an A-list celebrity dating Ben Affleck. The song was intended to reinforce her street cred as a working-class Puerto Rican girl made good, but it backfired, instead painting an image of Lopez as having lost touch with her roots and, in the process, becoming this trope.
  • Machine Gun Kelly gives off this impression. He often dresses in 'urban' clothing much in the way people in the ghetto do and tends to try to act "gangsta" in his songs (a good example of this being "Warning Shot").
  • Would you believe even Madonna was initially considered this trope? Her debut single, "Everybody", had a distinct urban sound, and record execs were afraid listeners wouldn't take her seriously if they knew she was white, so the single's cover art was just a painting of a cityscape rather than showing the singer herself. She had to fight hard to convince them to feature her in the music video.
  • Bruno Mars, who is half Filipino and half Puerto Rican-Jewish, has been accused by some critics of utilizing this trope on 24K Magic.
  • Joni Mitchell's mid-70s albums drew heavy influence from jazz. She claimed that her Blackface character on the cover of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, "Art Nouveau", was a representation of her "black soul."
  • Roundly mocked in the music video for N.W.A protégé The D.O.C.'s video for The Formula, with Dr. Dre and Eazy-E holding audition for a new act. One of the groups that comes to the studio calls themselves New Kids In the Hood. They're exactly what you expect.
  • Named after the song "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" by The Offspring. It looks as though it's about race, but looking closer, it's clear the kid is just middle class and has no idea of the actual hip-hop and ghetto culture. Thus he looks like a total ass, more so in the music video where he flashes gang-banger signs to a black man and shows off his low-rider's hydraulic system to a pair of Mexicans who obviously shake their heads in consternation. Songwriter Dexter Holland summed up as a song about guys “from, like, Omaha, Nebraskanote , regular white-bread boys, but who act like they’re from Compton. It’s so fake and obvious that they’re trying to have an identity.”
  • Canadian diva Dana Jean Phoenix evoked this in her heavily hip-hop and R&B influenced early material prior to her Genre Shift to Synthwave.
  • P!nk heavily invoked this on her first album, riding the '90s Contemporary R&B bandwagon, but dropped the act afterwards.
  • The Pulp song "Common People" is about the "slumming" phenomenon where upper-class people try to live a working-class lifestyle as a kind of "holiday", based on a real woman that Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker knew when he was studying at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Some of the lyrics are particularly relevant:
    Laugh along with the common people,
    Laugh along even though they're laughing at you,
    And the stupid things that you do,
    Because you think that poor is cool.
  • Canadian reggae artist Snow (born Darrin O'Brien) was often accused of this simply because, well, just look at his stage name. However, like Eminem, Snow came by it naturally, having grown up in the housing projects in Toronto that had a lot of Caribbean immigrants and thus was exposed to reggae and dancehall throughout his formative years. Having the best-charting and best selling reggae single in North American history helped too.
  • The Sparks song Suburban Homeboy is all about this idea. "I'm a suburban homeboy, and I say Yo Dog to my pool cleaner guy..."
  • Justin Timberlake, despite being raised in suburban Memphis, wore corn rows and durags during his *NSYNC days and uses Black slang as well. His proximity to Black culture has been questioned in light of the unequal treatment he and Janet Jackson received in response to the 2004 Super Bowl mishap; while Justin apologized (after first bragging about it being planned), his career soared, while Janet was blacklisted by radio and Les Moonves. Justin has joked about the trope in 2011. But it didn’t help that his 2018 album Man of the Woods was marketed with country aesthetics, leading much of the press to mock him for “rebranding as a white man” after years of making R&B and hip hop-friendly music.
  • Pat Monahan of Train tries to do this in "Hey Soul Sister" — it is IMPOSSIBLE to take him seriously when saying "I'm so gangsta, I'm so thug".
  • Meghan Trainor, who hails from a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant family, was already musically influenced by Motown and R&B on her early albums but began appropriating black urban culture in earnest starting with "All About That Bass".
  • Vanilla Ice, although he did come from a lower-class background and got his nickname by way of being the only white kid in his circle of friends. Most of the actual examples of this trope with him either came later or weren't even of his doing.
  • Timothy Westwood is a white British DJ and radio personality and the presenter of the UK version of Pimp My Ride. As you'd expect from that and his inclusion on this list he speaks in faux "Black British" street slang with a fake Carribean accent. He went to an exclusive Public School (for the benefit of American readers, in the UK a Public School is one of the top private schools- don't ask, it's complicated) and his father was a bishop. Really.
    • Mr. B (the Gentleman Rhymer) mocks him splendidly here.
      • It could be argued that Mr. B's entire act is a deliberate defiance of this trope; proof that you don't need to act black to be a white rapper.
    • Westwood's fellow BBC radio DJ Nick Grimshaw did a thing in 2013 where he tried to show off his "gangsta side" - turning his breakfast show into "The Breakfast Clique" in reference to the GOOD Music song. While this may have been a joke/spoof/stunt, it doesn't come across well.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • Weird Al has actually covered the Trope Namer as "Pretty Fly for a Rabbi", which inverts things: the Rabbi in the song is popular and cool because of how good he is at being Jewish.
    • Like the Trope Namer, "White and Nerdy" focuses on a white dork who wants to roll with the gangstas, but rather than imitating them, he spends most of the song describing just how nerdy he is.
  • Yelawolf is an aversion; like Eminem, he came from an impoverished background and happened upon hip-hop naturally by way of going to school in the Nashville projects and becoming acclimated with the music there. Furthermore, his topics seldom touch upon the inner city and focus more on the unpleasantries of Deep South life, which is what he was used to.
  • Frank Zappa's song "You Are What You Is" from the album of the same name: The first verse is about a (presumably white) middle class guy who tries to imitate Black culture not because he genuinely understands or appreciates it, but because of its superficial connections to his standard of masculinity. The end result just makes him look stupid: he speaks in exaggerated slang like a character from a minstrel show, he claims to enjoy eating the low-quality food poor people are often forced to subsist on, and he thinks he's officially acclimated into Black culture because he buys products marketed to Black consumers. This all ties into the song's Be Yourself message, filtered through Zappa's famous dislike of poseurs.
  • For that matter, the sections of the British blues scene of The '60s, at least for those less than authentic in their delivery or presentation. This, and the overexposure of blues and R&B influence then popular at the time, helped lead to the very British Progressive Rock scene. Led Zeppelin, anyone? Robert Plant himself addressed this in an interview when he said: "I wanted to sing like Ray Charles, but I was a bit of a nancy boy, so that's what you got." (Led Zeppelin were, of course, later sued for their blues ripoffs). Ian Anderson felt he and his band were stealing a part of black culture and emotional experiences insincerely and not always convincingly, and that by strictly resigning himself to performing a "polite shade" of black American music he had little room for the full extent of music he wanted to make. He soon reinvented Jethro Tull as a very eclectic English/Scottish Progressive Rock band in The '70s.
    • A similar thing has been associated with the later post-punk scene, which frequently drew on reggae influences. The Police is one of the more notable examples. Partly justified with UB40, since some of its members are actually of Afro-Caribbean descent, and the other members grew up amongst them.
  • The Lonely Island's Ras Trent is about a white kid who picks up Rastafarianism in college, but he's clearly just using it as an excuse to smoke pot and rebel against his parents. He even hides his face and mumbles when he passes by actual Rastafari.
    • On a meta level, The Lonely Island take great care to always refer to themselves as "fake rappers" to avoid this stereotype.
  • Some music journalists use the semi-derogatory term "wigger slam" to refer to slam Death Metal bands, played by white guys who act and dress like black guys. See also the Death Core page.
    • The term has also been used positively, along with spawning several slam parody bands with an exaggerated "wigger" aesthetic, including New Yorkment, FrogKill, Publikk Enema and Engutturalment Cephaloslamectomy. "The Defend Wigger Slam Group," a Facebook group housing over 500 members, frequently lampoons wigger cliches found in slam death metal bands while members of noted slam bands join in on the lighthearted fun. However, Waking the Cadaver vocalist Don Campan, did not take as kindly to his band being described as wigger slam.
  • American Black Metal bands are sometimes accused of this, based on the assumption that black metal is an essentially European art form.
  • Largely subverted by the Nerdcore scene. While a bunch of mostly white guys (with a minority of black men, Latinos, women, and people of mixed race) rapping about "geeky" stuff should be the spitting image of this trope, the fact that they're genuine about their interests makes it subtly different. For the most part, they're not pretending to be anything but what they are: mostly middle-class guys who grew up on equal parts 90s Gangsta Rap and video games, comics, and sci-fi.
  • Many Nu Metal bands got accused of this because of their hip-hop influences, use of turntablists, and especially because of how some of the them dressed. With Korn and Limp Bizkit being the two biggest offenders.
  • This trope is not so common in Brazil, a country marked by miscegenation and where even one of the earliest rappers to break out was white. Still, there is still some narm to be found in white chicks that not only attempt to rap, but also incorporate ghetto slang.
  • Non-white example: A common point of criticism against Kpop is its fetishism of black culture. As a result of both the sudden rush of Western music into Korean radio in the Eighties/Nineties and Seo Taiji' & Boys' success after combining various Western sounds, Kpop is similarly influenced by many Western genres, especially 90s Hip-Hop and R&B. However, this meant that these genres were simply adopted by the idol industry as a means to get higher sales without much of a look into racial/cultural context: Hip-Hop tends to be treated more as an image thing, with many idols dressing or acting "black" for a concept; the obligatory rappers in idol groups are more often than not "trained" to rap and don't necessarily even write their own lyrics. The fact that Korean media in general also has had many incidents related to anti-black racism (some even involving idols doing Blackface) doesn't help matters.
    • While BTS was much more directly influenced by Western rap - with rappers citing OG rappers as influences and being involved with the Korean underground rap scene before joining the group -, their image in their early years fell squarely into this trope, dressing and acting "gangsta" as part of their "Hip-Hop idol group" concept. However, after 2014, a year that involved a trip to Los Angeles to learn about West Coast Hip-Hop's roots and culture for the Reality Show American Hustle Life, the tough-guy "gangsta" image was scrapped for good. RM, rapper and leader of the group, has vocally acknowledged his mistakes on this regard and considers his attitude and hairstyle/fashion choices of that era an Old Shame. More on that here.
  • This is a common criticism leveled at "bro-country" artists. Many of these artists incorporate hip-hop influences into both their music and fashion sense, which clashes heavily with the "proud country boy" image that the lyrics try to convey.
  • This trope was a common point of criticism regarding the worldbeat boom of The '80s, which blended rock and pop music with disparate non-white, non-Western genres of music. Many of these attempts were criticized as superficial and culturally appropriating, and the criticism grew particularly loud after Paul Simon was discovered to have traveled to South Africa— in the middle of a United Nations-led cultural boycott in protest of apartheid— to produce his 1986 album Graceland. Some more socially conscious artists, such as Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads, managed to weather and survive accusations of cultural appropriation, while others, such as Simon, spent the rest of their careers having to fight them off. These criticisms and especially the Graceland controversy would end up serving as a Genre-Killer for the worldbeat movement, with it being relegated to a much more niche position by the start of The '90s.
  • The Insane Clown Posse are also an aversion; Violent J came from an impoverished background and he and Shaggy 2 Dope became engrossed in Detroit's hip-hop scene instead of simply imitating it.
  • Averted with White South African musician Johnny Clegg, who's first band, Juluka, featured both White and Black South African musicians, and Clegg and his various bands aimed to preserve and promote Zulu culture instead of imitating it. Clegg was a controversial performer in his native South Africa as he began his career during the racially segregated Apartheid era, and was arrested several times for violating Apartheid-era laws banning people of different races from congregating together after curfew hours.
  • The song '"Salsa Tequila"'' by Anders Nilsen is about obvious tourists trying to blend in at their destination by pretending they can speak Spanish. The song is full of Gratuitous Spanish and ends with the admission that "no hablo español".
  • In Epic Rap Battles of History, Elvis Presley uses this to diss Michael Jackson:
    Elvis: "I stole from black culture, why are you offended?"

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Memphis-based tag team PG-13 (Wolfie D and Jaime "JC Ice" Dundee) were likely the first wrestlers to use this as a gimmick. They would go on to have stints in all three of the major promotions in the late 90s.
  • Too Cool. Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor as wannabe rappers dancing to hip hop beats and later adding former Wild Samoan Rikishi to their act ended being one of the more surprising hits of the Attitude era in the then-WWF. What made the gimmick work so well was the delightful randomness and heterogeneity of it: two skinny white men and a fat Samoan guy performing impromptu dance moves to a style of music that neither whites nor Samoans are ordinarily associated with.
  • Summer 1999 in WCW saw the formation of the Filthy Animals, originally composed of Mexican-Americans Rey Mysterio Jr. and Eddie Guerrero, Cuban-American Konnan, and Caucasians Kidman and Torrie Wilson. Guerrero left for WWE at the start of 2000. Later that year, along with Mexican wrestler Juventud Guerrera and Latina valet Tygress, the bookers decided to put Disco Inferno in it. They made being Pretty Fly For A White Guy his gimmick and have him screw up the Animals catchphrases (e.g. "it's all swell" instead of "it's all good"). He even got renamed to Disqo, a reference to hip-hop artist Sisqo who was experiencing faddish popularity at the time.
  • When Ring of Honor fans aren't logging in to argue against claims that the stars and bars wearing Briscoes being racists, they're doing so to shoot down claims that the Briscoes are trying to act black. On both subjects, Mark has said they have more black friends than white ones, who've apparently rubbed off really hard on Jay since he gets the most accusations.
  • WWE wrestler John Cena was Pretty Fly For A White Guy as a Heel. Then, he had a Heel–Face Turn, and we were suddenly supposed to take his hip-hop posturing seriously. (It didn't help that he stopped actually rapping after his album was released and just made a lot of gay jokes in a "ghetto" accent.) Needless to say, the Narm thus created has led to massive amounts of X-Pac Heat whenever WWE hits any place that has an actual urban hip-hop culture. Thankfully, these days, he's toned down the hip-hop allusions in favor of becoming, essentially, a Promoted Fanboy, but the X-Pac Heat among Smart Marks may never completely subside.
    • Side note: Los Angeles has a very large "actual urban hip-hop culture," and Cena gets really loud cheers in L.A.
    • What Cena has been doing is fundamentally no different from what Elvis Presley did in The '50s. He is a white, upper-middle-class American who, in his soul, does not feel like a white, upper-middle-class American, and acts accordingly. Far from mocking black culture, he is actually celebrating it, while putting a less menacing (white) face on it for his white fans. (And interestingly, Cena's longtime nemesis John "Bradshaw" Layfield was essentially Cena in reverse: a boorish, trailer-park Texan who became obsessed with money and riches, and rebaptized himself as a Wall Street tycoon. This resulted in a bit of Hypocritical Humor when in 2006 JBL was doing a bit of color commentary on SmackDown! where he mocked Anna Nicole Smith; he is, in a way, basically her male equivalent.)
  • Justified with John "Bradshaw" Layfield. He may have gotten his start as a beer-swilling Texas football player and ended his time in wrestling as Wall Street tycoon type, but that's because he actually is both. He was known as far back as his being an Acolyte to have a knack for the stock market. He went on to become a millionaire from it, sold a book on finance management, and has been featured on the cover of Fortune. He even met his wife on the set of the business show Bulls & Bears, where he was a regular guest.
  • Chris Hero had this mindset for a time, or in his own words:
    "You know what they call me on the streets? They call me the mack daddy of the cravate. And that's for real. That's for real. Word up."
  • Delirious' promo at CHIKARA Don't Eat the Black One, March 19, 2005, was him rapping, of a sort, lyrics from Esham's "Silicone."
  • One half of team blondage and the All American Girls, "The Hip Hop Princess" Amber O'Neal.
  • "White Kryptonite" Eddie Diamond in Ohio Valley Wrestling, who helped bring out the Sassy Black Woman in Epiphany.
  • Ray Gordy, better known as Slam Master J, from the blonde cornrows down to the 50 Cent-like clothes, but mostly, merely a jobber teamed with Jimmy Wang Yang, a subversion in that he's "pretty redneck for an Asian guy." Ray Gordy's developmental gimmick was arguably a better example of this. As "Ray Geezy", he essentially played the same Slam Master J character but was in a tag team called "Ebony & Ivory" with Damien Steele, a black man working a very prissy, "white acting" Carlton Banks-esque gimmick.
  • One of Su Yung most widely used gimmicks. The Premier Athlete Brand basically treated her as "their" black, such as when they sent her to cause a rift between Uhaa Nation and AR Fox in Dragon Gate USA, which didn't work, and when they sent her to seduce Rich Swann in EVOLVE, which did.
  • Bo Dallas used to do freestyle rap-offs with Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn back in WWE NXT. Then, and without even doing a rapping gimmick at the time, Bo "Rida" beat Grammy Award-winning rapper Flo Rida in a rap battle. Even though commentary and WWE itself tried to spin it the other way, the Internet unanimously declared Bo the winner, and so did a hip hop magazine.
  • Throughout the Georgia to Texas laps of the independent circuit(Peachstate Wrestling Alliance, Anarchy Championship, etc.) wrestlers encountered The Get Along Gang, a "hip hop" "Power Stable" lead by the white rapper P-dog that started up in 2015.

    Tabletop Games 
  • When members of the Japanese-themed Draconis Combine wound up visiting Japan in BattleTech (during and after the conquest of Terra by Stone's Coalition forces during the Word of Blake Jihad), there was a note made of just how annoying actual Japanese people found them as they swarmed the country (and ripped out everything that wasn't nailed down and more than a few things that were to take home as souvenirs).
  • In the latest editions of Shadowrun, of the flaws you can take, a few of them are Ork and Elf poser, which makes you the fantasy equivalent.
    • Elven wannabes/Elf posers find elves 'glamorous' and want to become elves, some even thinking they are elves born in human bodies. Surgery to get elven ears and angular features is common. Depending on how deeply involved the posers become, they can face anything from social penalties to actual transphobic violence, and are generally seen with disdain by elves and as race-traitors by human supremacists.
    • Ork posers, meanwhile, universally cleave closer to this trope and consist of elves and humans who think ork culture in the sixth world is cool. They tend to dress up as orks, hang around orkish circles in attempt to fit in, run with orks and try to work anti-ork slurs like "tusker" into their vocabulary. Surgery to look orkish is very rare but many take steroids to bulk up their muscles and may wear fake tusks. Orks tend to react badly to ork posers, though the occasional poser can earn a seat at the table through luck, dedication and respect. They're usually seen in the same light as white Gangsta Rap fans were during the early nineties by humans.

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • OG Loc (real name Jeffrey Cross) from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a variation, in that he actually is a black man from South Central, but it quickly becomes apparent that he's pretty bad at trying to be 'gangsta'. He does manage to make a career as a gangsta rapper out of it for a while, but that's only because he has CJ steal the rhyme book of the real gangsta rapper Madd Dogg. When Madd Dogg finds out, he enlists CJ to not only steal back his rhyme book but get some long-overdue payback, in a mission based on how Suge Knight, the real-life head of Death Row Records, extorted Vanilla Ice for the royalties to "Ice Ice Baby" over lyrics allegedly plagiarized from Knight's client Mario Johnson.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony has Yusuf Amir, a real estate developer and son of an Arab Oil Sheikh who has a fascination with hip-hop and "gangsta" culture, which he tries to emulate — and that includes saying the N-word a lot, even though the main protagonist Luis finds it offensive (unsurprising given he is a black Latino of Dominican descent). In Yusuf's defense, though, he doesn't know the context behind the word and he just thinks it's something Western people call each other.
    • Grand Theft Auto V has two examples. One is Jimmy de Santa, who's your typical example that listens to rap music, speaks in hip-hop slang, and says the word "nigga" a lot. Then there's Trevor Philips, one of the three Player Characters, who at one point just thrusts himself into a drug deal with the Gangbangers Franklin Clinton (one of the other player characters) and Lamar Davis for kicks. He knows he doesn't have N-Word Privileges, though, as he refers to Franklin as "[his] N-word." He's also a legitimately terrifying gangster in his own right, so he's certainly not just pretending to be a tough guy.
  • One of the street gangs in Hunt Down, the No.1 Suspects, are Black guys with a Japanese theme. Some mooks wear Kill Bill-style yellow track suits with katanas, and one of their bosses is a mirrorshades-wearing black samurai in full armor.
  • Planescape: Torment has a variation: in the upper-middle-class-to-wealthy Clerk's Ward section of Sigil, you meet a group of "Clerk's Ward Thugs" who are poorly attempting to be "street", including hilarious misuse of the in-universe Future Slang common to the Hive (which, as the name implies, is a Wretched Hive). Annah, your party member who actually is from the Hive, makes fun of them and threatens to fight them. If/when you actually come to blows with them, it turns out that while they may know nothing about the Hive, they are quite competent at fighting.

  • Dark Smoke Puncher from The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is an Irish-American ninja who effects stereotypical "Gangsta" mannerisms. Something of a subversion in that he only does this to prevent his parents from noticing just how incredibly nerdy he actually is.
  • Cyanide and Happiness gives us this gem. Oh, and the butler's name is Cringeworth.
  • Homestuck: Dave Strider and his Bro are, as described by Dave himself, "ironic rapping roof ninjas". Not much of Bro's work is seen (but plenty is seen of his love of puppeteering), but Dave was known to burst into improvised rap early on, he has a sizable array of sampling equipment and turntables, he sent Jade a collection of techno remix efforts of questionable quality, and in Sburb he even controls his time powers through augmented turntables. While Jade is impressed by it all, John and Rose don't really buy it all that much, and love to snark about or criticise it at many opportunities.
    EB: that's fine, you are entitled to your opinion, i am just saying that being a white guy who is a rapper with a ventriloquist doll is not cool by any stretch of the imagination or by any definition of word cool, ironic or otherwise. that's all i'm saying.
    • After having to clarify that the humans in Homestuck are aracial, Andrew changed 'white' in the above quote to 'Íæûë€Å', though it's since been changed back. He did this mainly to try and quell a Flame War on the forums.
    • Lil' Cal, one of Bro's puppets, is designed to look like one of these characters. He's even named after an Uncle Tomfoolery type character in the author's earlier works.

    Web Original 
  • In The Allen And Craig Show's two part Episode 8, Allen gets his very white, but maybe not so white, friend Lars, who he calls "the coolest guy I know" to keep Craig from becoming totally lame.
  • The source of the humor in this quote, and this one on as well.
  • This CollegeHumor video "If Gandhi Took A Yoga Class" hypothesizes how Mahatma Gandhi would have reacted to a trendy Western yoga class. The peppy instructor corrects his posture pronunciation (he uses the Hindi name), complains that he's doing everything too slow (traditional yoga isn't a form of exercise), and criticizes his choice of clothing (dhoti instead of typical yoga class wear). Gandhi eventually gets annoyed at the young white students having no idea about the cultural and religious background of yoga (e.g. considering yogalates to be "spiritual", having a Krishna figurine without knowing who he is), about the instructor considering her teacher "Carl Smith" to be a great guru, the room being too hot (traditional yoga is at room temperature), and caring more about trivial things (e.g. fasting for beach season rather than to protest imperialism). He finally storms out when one of the students starts talking about "flowing chakras into his heart center" (complete nonsense to a Hindu).
    Students: Namast—
    Gandhi: (angrily) You don't know what that means!
  • This viral Facebook post.
    To all of Chris' friends: This is his Father. My son carelessly left his account logged in so I decided to snoop around. Upon reading my son's personal information, I would like to clear a few things up. My son is not a "gangsta," he will not "beat a ho's ass" and he will certainly not "roll a fatty wit his boyz." So for who believe he is some hard ass thug, think again... He is Chris _______, a 15-year-old kid that was afraid of the dark until he was 12 and cried at the end of Marley & Me.
  • Gizoogle, where you can turn any, and we mean any website into gangster slang.
  • In The Guild, Tink's adoptive white family try to imitate her native Japanese culture with cringe-worthy results.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In Teen Girl Squad, the girls tend to speak in whatever slang they think is cool, including AAVE. This is parodied in issue 15 where What's Her Face is confused by the school dance being called the "Priggidy Prizom" and feels she needs to brush up on her "white girl gangsta".
    • As a main-setting Homestar character, it's questionable whether Coach Z fits into any human racial category, but his mannerisms are definitely meant to evoke a middle-aged and rather out-of-touch white guy attempting to sound like a hip young black guy.
  • In Golden Waters has Kevin MacDonald, a "debt collector" who calls himself Kashiro and idealizes samurai culture, using a katana as his weapon of choice.
  • In Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, J's boss seems to think she is black and even gets cornrows and dates a black guy.
    J's Boss: (after taking a leave of absence) I want to know why the caged bird sings, I want to get my groove back, and I want the rainbow to be enuf. E-N-U-F.
  • The webseries No Evil has a very limited voice cast and a lot of characters who are clearly meant to be people of color. Additionally, it mixes around a lot of Native American and colonial American mythologies in a way that could raise some questions about appropriation, though whether or not it's a negative form is up for debate.
  • The Onion:
  • The Nostalgia Chick will always complain when movies do this, but she's had a few cringe-worthy (if hilarious) moments herself when she's tried to act like a Sassy Black Woman.
  • The entire "Ghost Ride The Whip" sequence in PeanutButterGamer's Top 10 Worst Licensed Games video.
  • Parodied in a YouTube video called "How To Be Black", where a white/Asian guy tries to act "black", but fails miserably (which is Lampshaded by his black friends)
  • The viral YouTube video "Rappin' for Jesus" stars a white pastor rapping about his relationship with Jesus Christ, most infamously featuring the lyric "Jesus Christ is my [N-word]" and coming very close to a hard R. He also throws up gang signs throughout the video.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Jaden Yuki is portrayed as this, even rapping over the end credits.
    • Tristan acts black when Kaiba lampshades a scene in which Tristan is drawn black. He speaks this way later on until Joey tells him (to his surprise) that he's not black anymore.
  • The Icy Hot Stuntaz, a trio of white "rappers" flashing faux gang signs in front of (rented) sports cars and SUVs while clad in stereotypical hip-hop clothing. They became a meme in the pre-Web 2.0/Geocities era with some users speculating on whether they were sincere with their rap act or were more of a parody, though they did appear to have released some songs.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan Smith is known to do this fairly regularly, which stands in contrast to his otherwise very conservative mannerisms.
    Stan: The Schwartztein's house is going off! It's like a damn Ludacris video: pimp cups, shorties. It's all crunked out!
    • Steve has his moments as well, although he just as frequently embodies stereotypes of black women as well as men.
  • The Boondocks:
    • Cindy McPherson. A blonde haired little white girl that runs her girl scout cookie fundraiser like a drug ring and will quote rap artists as inspiration for her behavior. Notably, in the animated series, Cindy appears to be more authentically engrossed in hip-hop culture, while her incarnation in the original comic strip is 100% this trope.
    • Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy from the same show. Both are white and come from affluent families (Ed in particular being the grandson of the wealthiest man in Woodcrest.) Both speak in copious amounts of jive, own lots of firearms that they are willing to whip out with the least excuse, rob convenience stores and banks despite having no pressing financial reason to do so, break into people's houses at night for burglary, and generally act in an over-the-top stereotypical "gangsta'" fashion. Ed and Gin even have African-American voice actors (Charlie Murphy and Samuel L. Jackson respectively) to complete the image.
    • Bizarrely enough, Ann Coulter is portrayed as being like this in private, speaking in near-Jive Turkey levels of slang and dating black men exclusively, her whole campaign is just a ruse to get money and attention.
  • The Cleveland Show: Roberta's boyfriend Federline (real name Gabriel Friedman) is a particularly cringeworthy example. Adopting all the surface-level aspects of a stereotypical rapper, the rest of the family views him as annoying and pretentious; Cleveland refers to him as "a lame, inside-out oreo".
  • The Fairly Oddparents: At the beginning of the episode "Remy Rides Again", Chester tried to sound "slang", much to A.J.'s annoyance. It ended when A.J. electrocuted Chester.
  • Family Guy:
    • In one episode, Chris becomes the towel boy for the high school basketball team and picks up some slang and mannerisms from the black players. His father Peter investigates their heritage, with the intention of familiarizing Chris with their Irish roots, and discovers a black slave among his ancestors. Then Peter starts trying to act like a black man and goes entirely too far; wearing a dashiki, insisting that he be called Kichwa Tembo, and demanding reparations from his father-in-law, whose ancestor happened to own his black ancestor. Hilariously, he discards his new identity the moment Carter whips out his checkbook:
    Carter: Okay, how do you spell "Kichwa?"
    Peter: Y'know what? Screw "Kichwa;" the name's Peter. P-E-T-E...
    • In a deleted scene for the episode "Stewie Kills Lois", Stewie sings a musical number (specifically, updated lyrics to "I've Got A Little List" from The Mikado) threatening any "undesirable elements" in society in case of a rebellion against his world conquest. The very first one is "the white kid with the baggy clothes who's talking like he's black", which shows one of these dancing to hip hop in"gangsta" clothing, while a normally dressed white and black kid watch him in contempt.
    • In another episode, it is revealed that Lois has Jewish ancestry. Peter begins to fulfill the Jewish equivalent of this trope until a visit from the ghost of his hardcore Catholic father turns him into an anti-Semite.
    • Brian, due to his racist upbringing, barks angrily at a black man. Trying to smooth things over, Brian says how much he liked Benson.
  • Jellystone!: Shag's attempts at a rapper persona (and lifestyle) despite being otherwise just as hillbilly as the rest of his family. Notably, Shag is actually voiced by a Black person but the rest of his family are voiced by white people.
  • Kim Possible: Drakken was known to do this on occasion, much to Shego's chagrin:
    Dr. Drakken: Fo-shizel, she-gizle.
    Shego: Ugh, wait, are you trying to be hip again?
    Dr. Drakken: Word to your mother.
    Shego: Oy!
  • Legends of Chamberlain Heights: Milk is probably the walking incarnate of a white kid acting black. The only problem is that he’s unable to say the N-word without getting a Dope Slap by one of his friends.
  • My Dad the Rock Star: In "Meet the Zillas", Willy acts and dresses like this in order to purposely tank the ratings of the reality TV show he's inadvertently become the star of. It works.
    Producer: No one wants to watch a suburban kid pretend he's a gangster rapper. Go figure.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Phineas tries to sound "street" in one episode by peppering his speech with the word dang. He comes off sounding more like a hillbilly than a gangsta. Ferb, on the other hand, raps pretty good considering the constraints of a Disney cartoon and the fact Ferb is usually The Silent Bob (it helps that his singing voice is provided by the show's musical director).
  • South Park: Eric Cartman double subverts this in "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" when he's trying to find his real father. He dresses in the outfit in the page image and tries using African-American slang (or at least his understanding of it). The subversion is that Cartman genuinely thinks he's half-black until Chef sets him straight.
    Cartman: I was just down at the SPC, kickin' it with some G's on the West Si-eed...
    • This was carried over to the Chef Aid album, where Cartman does much the same when he and the other boys guest on the Wyclef Jean track "Bubblegoose".

    Real Life 
  • In the US, Presidential candidates seem to love to embarrass themselves this way. Watch as Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton both fall prey to it.
    • Presidential primary candidate Rick Perry, during the controversy over a property of his named "Niggerhead", referred to African-American candidate Herman Cain as "brother" during a debate.
  • The former game-centric retail chain, Game Crazy's, training video is loaded with out-of-date attempts to appeal to "gamer culture." Especially Zelda, who speaks almost entirely in 90s ghetto slang despite being white as porcelain.note 
  • While reading a poem by a black poet, a black student was told by his white teacher to read it "blacker." The teacher then demonstrated what she meant. The results were not pretty.
  • There are some who believe Elvis Presley "stole" the music of African American artists, in part because of a comment from his record producer stating that black music would be more palatable to white audiences if it was being sung by a white man, referring to Presley. However, those in opposition to the claim point out Presley's own admonishment of his success and title as the "King of Rock & Roll"; among other things, Presley publicly stated that Fats Domino was "the real King of Rock & Roll" and that he himself only got the title because he was white.
  • Quentin Tarantino has tried a little too hard to "talk black" in some of his interviews following Django Unchained. At the Oscars, Seth MacFarlane defended Tarantino's use of the N-word in Django thusly:
    "Because he thinks he's black".
  • Ralph Bakshi went to great lengths to keep his film Coonskin authentic. He did all of his research by going through the streets of New York with a tape recorder and asking black pedestrians what they thought it was like to be black in America circa 1972 and got a hefty amount of praise from black viewers for tackling these issues so well despite not being black himself. Nevertheless, not everyone was pleased: Al Sharpton accused it of racist appropriation (without having actually ''seen it'', mind you) and led a nationwide campaign to get it banned.
  • In the Polish hip-hop scene, any attempt to imitate American gangsta rap is a sure-fire way to being universally mocked by other rappers and hip-hop fans.
  • Jews for Jesus is an organization of Jews who converted to Christianity. They often stress the commonalities between the Jewish and Christian religions or re-interpret Jewish texts and rituals to make them more Christian. To many Jews, they end up as this trope or worse, especially since they're most heavily associated with highly anti-Semitic Christian sects.
  • In 2004, a white Deputy Chief Constable performed a rap while addressing the first meeting of the North Wales Black Police Association. Reactions were mixed.
  • UK DJ Mike Reid was forced to apologize in 2014 after causing offence with his 'UKIP Calypso', a song promoting the anti-immigration policies of the UK Independence Party sung in a fake Caribbean accent.
  • The strange case of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who became prominent in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), leading its chapter in Washington State. In as many words, she argued that she qualified as black because one's sense of racial identity is a state of mind. Before the controversy arose, she forged a successful career as an academic specialising in African art, black feminism, and African-American history and culture. And, as if to bring this full circle, Nigerian email scammers have since started posing as Dolezal.
  • The original hipsters, white jazz fans who wore zoot suits, were the 1940s version of this.
  • Modern hipsters have also been accused of appropriating not only black culture (albeit in a more deliberately tongue-in-cheek manner) but every single culture that isn't white, cis-hetero, or even contemporary. In some cases, modern hipsters have even been attributed as being a factor in gentrification of non-white neighborhoods.
  • Proving that some things never change, the "juniper Germans" of the 19th century Baltic states immersed themselves in the emerging pan-German culture so thoroughly they lost touch with their own. This led, among other things, to the Estonian national epic being written by a guy with the thoroughly Estonian name Reinhold Kreutzwald. The "juniper Germans" got exactly the same amount of respect as modern-day weeaboos.
  • The idiom "All hat and no cattle" refers to people who imitate "cowboy" fashion and culture but haven't actually done any work on a farm or ranch.
  • RuPaul's Fag Hag Michelle Visage first became known in the LGBTQ+ community (and eventually became friends with RuPaul) in the late 80's when she became the first white girl to compete in New York City's vogue ballroom scene, which is normally the domain of queer people of color.
  • Ernie Johnson, the longtime commentator for Inside The NBA. It's a near memetic joke among fans that Ernie is down with the black community. And many a YouTube compilation titled "Ernie Johnson Being Black" can be found if you look.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Wigger


White & Nerdy

Weird Al's song "White & Nerdy" depicts a white guy who laments that he's too nerdy to hang out with "the gangstas". Yet throughout the song, he also boasts about just how nerdy he is through his abundance of hobbies and interests.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / PrettyFlyForAWhiteGuy

Media sources: