Did Joan Rivers make a racist comment by saying, “A rich white boy shouldn't try to dress like a boy from the ghetto?” Is this a racist comment? If so, who is it racist against, rich white boys or boys from the ghetto?
It is a cringe-worthy statement, but what makes it sound so offensive?
An Internet search yielded almost no reaction to the statement that Joan Rivers tweeted about Justin Bieber. Earlier this year, Rivers called Bieber a “cute little lesbian” on Anderson Live and made a joke about his height. Although all of these remarks are offensive, Ms. River’s stock in trade are the outrageous insults, so it might be advisable to just consider the source and walk on by without taking the bait.
Only one blog, Answerology.com attempted to stir controversy on the reference by asking: “What do you think about Joan River's comment about Justin Bieber? ‘A white boy shouldn’t try and be a boy from the ghetto.’ Is that racist?” The question yielded 16 answers, with most saying it wasn’t racist.
“It is street talk and I don't think it has any color to speak of,” blogged a retired man. “No, it is a fact, nothing is more ridiculous than watching local affluent kids at the mall or big box store trying to act street,” responded a woman from Cincinnati.
“Well, when it comes to Bieber, she is so right! Further, it's not racist. It's stereotyping,” another woman wrote. A musician remarked, “The fact that someone could think that is racist is telling of their stereotypical way of looking at poverty, if you ask me.”
What do you think? Is this simply, as one commenter put it, “...it’s just a comment in which elements of race are mentioned...musically speaking.” Or, is it an accurate statement indicating that people of one race should not attempt to imitate those of another race?
Maybe it indicates that a rich white man is reducing himself by dressing in the same style as browned skin men who live in poverty. Now, that would be racist and classist as well.