There's a strong case to be made for buying "racism insurance." Wait, hear us out: In an age where failing to "check your privilege" can get you labeled a mansplaining white supremacist, conjuring someone to explain away your racist faux pas might seem like an appealing prospect.
It's like a State Farm agent, but for ignorant people. If only it were real:
The creators of Dear White People have produced a series of humorous YouTube shorts leading up to their film's release this month. The strength of the videos is in their deceptively lighthearted take on American race relations, tackling stereotypes ranging from dietary preferences and food stamps to black athletic superiority.
Here's one about black-on-black crime:
And here's one about penises:
The racism insurance sketch ably continues this tradition. America didn't really need reminding, but recent comments from Bill O'Reilly, not to mention pretty much everyone in that baffling Whiteness Project PBS documentary, are a fair indication that plenty of folks — most notably, white folks — are still poorly equipped to talk about race in an informed and articulate way. The result is a nationwide series of cringe-inducing social encounters, which, more often than not, result in frustration and anger rather than consensus and understanding. We've all been there.
But the sketch also cleverly hints at an even thornier, tremendously important issue: The wages of white privilege, which allow white folks to exist in such a normalized state of social dominance that the concept of subordinated experience fails to cross their minds. Comments about unexpected attraction to women of other races or how "typical" black people behave outline this disconnect.
So while the concept of racism insurance would be great for pacifying these awkward situations, the only way to avoid the scenarios altogether is by interrogating why such comments are made in the first place. Clearly that's easier said than done.