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White Like Me

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"There's a white man talking up here! Silencio! Oongawah!"
Chuck Taylor (yelling into a booing multi-ethnic crowd during the racial draft), Chappelle's Show
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Similar to Black Like Me except usually played strictly for laughs as a black character pretends to be white. Generally, a very hip black male pretends to be a very straight, lame white male.

Not related to the book, which is a personal story about white privilege.

Contrast Blackface.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • During the Armor Wars storyline, Jim Rhodes, a black man, impersonated Electro in order to infiltrate The Vault in order to help Iron Man neutralize the Guardsman armors that used his technology. Max Dillon is white, so Rhodey had to wear makeup over the exposed part of his face, and then quietly pray to himself that a brother didn't catch him removing the costume and makeup.

    Comic Strips 
  • A Tank McNamara arc involved the "token white" on a major basketball team: terrible at the game, but they kept him because he might give hope to white children that someday they might be able to play pro basketball. Then his teammates decided he'd gone too long without a shower ... and his whiteness washed off.... When Tank interviewed him, and asked if the deception had been tough, he exclaimed, "God, man, you pretend to like The Beach Boys for six years..."
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Chris Rock gets reincarnated into the body of a rich, white man in Down to Earth. The "straight, lame" part is averted though. He still most definitely behaves like Chris Rock... which gets him into awkward situations.
  • Lenny Henry in True Identity.
  • Shawn and Marlon Wayans combine this with Disguised in Drag in White Chicks.
  • Eddie Murphy, thanks to the magic of really good makeup, played a Captain Ersatz of Richard Simmons in The Nutty Professor. You couldn't tell it was him unless you were explicitly told as such.
  • Eddie Murphy played the black barbershop's resident Alter Kocker in Coming to America.
  • Whoopi Goldberg disguises herself as an elderly white businessman in The Associate.
  • The lead character in The Hebrew Hammer, at one point in the film, impersonates a Gentile. Although as an American Jew he should be in no way racially different, the whole scene is Played for Laughs very much in this way, as if being a Jew made one completely clueless of anything Gentile, and with the disguise being that of an outrageously stereotypical fundie redneck.
  • O.J.: Made in America: The documentary shows O.J. Simpson getting made up in "whiteface", as an elderly Jewish man Eddie Murphy-style, for his surreal 2006 "comedy" special Juiced.
  • The lead character in Sorry to Bother You is a down on his luck black telemarketer (played by Lakeith Stanfield) who finds success by calling clients using his "white voice" (dubbed by David Cross).

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Whoopi Goldberg pulled a similar stunt during one of her hosting of the Academy Awards, where she came dressed and madeup as Queen Elizabeth I and called herself "The African Queen".
  • Any time Dave Chappelle plays/impersonates/imitates a white person, it's always in the same calm monotone that says "I have nothing exciting about me because I'm extra vanilla." Chuck Taylor, the white news anchor that Chappelle plays on his show, gets physically whiter and whiter with every appearance. In his final appearance in one of the Lost Episodes (pictured above), he's literally white.
  • Eddie Murphy did this for the first time in an old Saturday Night Live short where, with the help of a good make-up artist, he discovered that white people regularly give stuff to each other for free. All the time. It ends with him with several of friends undergoing the make-up process "to continue this strange education."
  • Scrubs:
    • An episode had an Imagine Spot where Turk (Donald Faison) portrayed a white insurance salesman "Cal Turk".
      Cal Turk: Here at Cal Turk, we don't just sell insurance, we sell peace of mind. But only to white people. [beat] Would you like some milk?
    • Another episode had a flashback to Turk and J.D.'s student days in which they were going to an African-American fraternity with Turk in whiteface and a visibly uncomfortable J.D. in blackface. Turk assured J.D. that as long as they were both there, the fraternity would get the gag, but then spotted a hot girl and ditched J.D. at the last second to go talk to her, meaning the black fraternity members answered the door to just J.D. in blackface and were not pleased.
  • A series of sketches on Lenny Henry: Live and Unleashed had Henry, not just in whiteface, but in a very convincing latex Steve Martin mask. At one point he rips it off while explaining "Inside every funky white man, there's an even funkier black man trying to get out!"
  • One episode of 30 Rock sees Tracy and Jenna betting to see if living as a black man in America is harder than living as a white woman in America, with Tracy donning white makeup and a dress to try and live a white woman's life (Jenna, meanwhile, puts on blackface and engages in Modern Minstrelsy, which Toofer quickly calls her out on). Eventually, both Tracy and Jenna each declare the other the winner of the bet.

    Music 
  • French rapper Kamini (who's of Zairian descent) has made a song and a video clip titled "J'suis blanc" ("I'm white"), where God turns him white.
  • Zigzagged in Frank Zappa's "You Are What You Is", featuring a young Caucasian who starts singing the blues, talking in an exaggerated African-American dialect, eats chitlins, and uses Royal Crown pomade in his hair. By contrast, the young African-American stopped eating such soul foods as pork and greens, traded his dashiki for designer jeans, plays golf, and drives a Mercedes-Benz, acting like a white yuppie.
  • Some say this is what Michael Jackson did around 1990 or so, which is why the cover of Dangerous didn't show much of his face. This was later disproven over the course of the 90's and the 2000's: Jackson's lightening skin was the result of having to use makeup to cover the patchiness in his skin pigment caused by his vitiligo,note  his thinning face was the result of weight loss caused by dietary changes and tissue damage from lupus, his first nosejob was conducted to fix a broken nose in 1979, and the ones after that were done because the first nosejob was botched (specifically, it accidentally tightened his nostrils and made it difficult to breathe through his nose as a result). The only cosmetic change that actually appeared to be for beautification purposes was a chin dimpling. Despite this, rumors still float around that Jackson was attempting to whitewash himself because he thought his blackness made him look ugly, not helped by how his sister LaToya also lightened her skin color over time.
  • The song "If I was White" by rapper Sticky Fingaz. Bonus points for featuring Eminem on the hook.
  • Eminem's imitation of Jackson in the music video of "Just Lose It" from Encore.
  • The black rapper Chamillionaire played a dual role as a white newsreader in his follow-up songs "Hip Hop Police" and "The Evening News".

    Web Videos 
  • In The Nostalgia Critic, Malcolm once has to disguise as a white man in order to escape from a Genre Savvy Nostalgia Critic turned insane because of the miniseries based on Stephen King's The Shining. Thankfully, Malcolm manages to avoid being another victim of the Black Dude Dies First trope, by putting on a rather impressive disguise with blonde wig, white shirt... he even reads a purely white book and listens to Wrecking Ball! Now that's dedication. In the behind-the-scenes, he was the only one not laughing at it and said he didn't know how to make it not offensive.
  • Singer and talk show host Lexi Allen does this in numerous videos, such as White Church vs. Black Church.
  • YouTuber iSekC does this in his Justin Bieber eats his own poop video that has over 30 million views and has been a great conversation starter at elementary school lunches all across the globe since 2010.
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    Real Life 
  • This incident in 2013 involved two African-American bank robbers disguising themselves as white cops using Latex Perfection-style silicone masks of "handsome" white bald guys.
  • Can happen unintentionally in the case of vitiligo, which causes affected individuals to lose all the melanin in their skin, resulting in them looking freakishly white. The above-mentioned Michael Jackson is probably the most famous case of this, if only due to his own high public profile, but it was well-documented even before Jackson stopped trying to retain his darker complexion, with the disease becoming a major source of dysphoria and discrimination among African-Americans and other people with naturally darker skin tones.
  • Baseball player Sammy Sosa's skin complexion gradually became lighter and lighter starting in 2009, first making itself visible at an awards show that year before eventually leading to an infamous interview spot where he looked like a bottle of Pepto Bismol. While many speculated that his lightening skin color was the result of steroid abuse, body dysphoria, or vitiligo (this being long after Jackson's battle with the disease became well-known), Sosa denied all of these rumors and explained that it was an unintended side effect of a nightly skin-softening cream he used.

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