Nice White Lady

I was gathering something to kick off our second day of discussion in Adolescent Literature about Push and stumbled over this fantastic vid.  I love MadTV.  It is so much more brilliant than SNL…far outlasting the longevity of humor.

I had to post it here.  Especially since this week is the Women’s Collective’s Annual Conference, Got Privilege? This video is perfect to add to the discussion:

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10 thoughts on “Nice White Lady

  1. Shane Simon says:

    First, I have to say that the video was absolutely hilarious. It’s clear riff on Freedom Writers with Hilary Swank. While Freedom Writers was a decent-ish movie, it was definitely a “nice white lady” film. I mean, how many of them are there? The critically acclaimed and Oscar-award winning film “The Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock could simply be retitled, “White Lady Saves the Day” without losing any of the plot. Even in the 1970’s sit-com Welcome Back, Kotter it could be “Nice Jewish man saves the day.”

    They then have the opposite side of the coin, films that can be summed up by the phrase “tough black guy saves the day” like Coach Carter with Samuel L. Jackson who coaches a team of high-school basketball players off the streets and into college or Remember the Titans where Denzel Washington magically smooths the racial tensions in a Southern town by winning a football championship.

    I think that the societal assumption that someone, anyone, always needs to help minorities is exacerbated by movies such as these. Clearly, yes, assistance needs to be given to underprivileged and disadvantaged groups of people struggling to even get something worthwhile out of life, but I don’t believe that we need to turn these stories into their own genre of entertainment. For every story like “Freedom Writers” that we see, there are ten others that don’t end happily ever after. That’s really what we need to be addressing. Hollywood, unfortunately, is built for happy endings and smiles all around. I think that a film like Precious, with its darker and more serious message really connects with people. Filmmakers should create more films like that if they really want to address societal issues rather than making stupid amounts of money.

  2. king4648 says:

    Like Shane said, this movie really remind me of Hancock’s “The Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock, and LaGravenese’s “Freedom Writers” with Hilary Swank. Both are great actress. Like Sandra and Hilary, this nice white lady persevered to changed to lives of the minorities. She did not let the idea of racism hinder her determination to help those students. I really like the message that these aforementioned movies and video are giving to the audiences. Like Shane said, minorities need help from upper class people at some point in other to succeed. In “The Blind Side” Mrs. Oher (Sandra) changed Michael’s live while Hilary changed the minorities in her class lives. Freedom Writers is very similar to this video above when it comes to the plot and everything. These minorities grow up in a neighborhood where everyone is fighting and killing each other and selling drugs in the street. They all used to being in gangs and arrested by the police. Some of them are even ignorant about what they do: they are not even aware that what they are doing to each other is bad. Thus it is good and caring how these white people step up and show their love by helping these minorities to know what they are doing what can really change them.

  3. Lauri-Anne Phillip says:

    It’s so funny that this is posted because I was just talking about these genres of movie. The “culturally divided sports movies” like Bend it Like Beckham, Remember the Titans, Goal!” or “the nice white teacher saves the poor minority students”. Both make for interesting movies but perpetuate deep rooted societal constucts of race. Why is there always the funny and stupid black side kick in movies? Yes, it might be better than no black people in movies at all but not much better. Also, maybe its just me but I don’t often see many “nice white ladies in real life. I’ve worked with troubled minorities at the Geneva Community Center and there are are very few nice white ladies who deal one on one with the kids. The leader of the Center is a well-educated and well-mannered black man. The head of the Boys and Girls Club in Geneva? Black man again. When I worked with troubled minority youth in Newark,NJ, one of the most dangerous cities in New York…not a white person to be found in the schools that have kids smuggling in guns and starting fights in class. I’m not saying that white people don’t do this. There are stories of the week on the news about the remarkable people who help their communites. However, why aren’t there movies created about a special hispanic teacher who inspires her students academically. Antonio Banderas came close when he inspired students…to dance! WTF! I don’t like the message being sent by the absence of role models of color. This paints the picture that there aren’t people of color trying to help their communities everyday but there are. That is the reality. So why do we get “Nice white lady”?

  4. Amaury Ramirez says:

    I think this is hilarious. So many movies have this heroic white lady who comes into an urban school and changes many students. It’s funny because I guess in some sense it happens. I went to an urban school and it’s sad because most female white teachers got little to no respect. They either tried to be too nice or too understanding and students took advantage of it. I was not one of them.
    It’s funny because I just saw Precious, so the write it down option is given to Precious in the movie.

    Laurie makes a good point. She questions the roles of minorities in movies. I think I have a reason to why this happens. Movie watchers [lol] are more attracted to things that could actually happen; even if in some cases they are exagerated. It saddens me to say, but stereotypes come from somewhere. Minorities as a whole need to help themselves, educate themselves and stop blaming the system for their failures. I understand that public schools aren’t that great, but I know students who attended great University’s and went to public schools.

    Essentially what I am trying to say is that if people didn’t fit the stereotype, then movies wouldn’t need people for these roles. Also, when you think of a teacher what do you see?

    I see a white lady!

  5. ghawk65 says:

    This was hilarious. From a historical point of view though this reminds me a lit of ethnocentrism. Often people would look at other people and think that their life is miserable and the only way to help them is to show how wonderful your way of life is. Here it shows the minority’s way of life being miserable and the only way they can be saved is the nice white girl who comes down from her lofty position to shine light to the lost people. I hate that kind of stuff. I have to admit I haven’t seen the blind side so I don’t know if their message is as coarse however the trend seems to exist in film.

  6. ghawk65 says:

    This was hilarious. From a historical point of view though this reminds me a lit of ethnocentrism. Often people would look at other people and think that their life is miserable and the only way to help them is to show how wonderful your way of life is. Here it shows the minority’s way of life being miserable and the only way they can be saved is the nice white girl who comes down from her lofty position to shine light to the lost people. I hate that kind of stuff. I have to admit I haven’t seen the blind side so I don’t know if their message is as coarse however the trend seems to exist in film.
    This use of stereotyping drive me crazy. Now is there a problem with some Urban schools? Without a doubt there is. However the theme of problems with education always being with the impoverished minority struggling to escape the social boundaries. You know what I want to see. I want to see the motive that deals with the redneck kid who tries to escape the poverty of his pathetic education. Is that going to happen? Nope. Because too many people are going to be offended about the high probability of bad education outside of what the general society has accepted it to be. In lesser words its like that problem child in class we all knew in grade school, you know the one who could never sit still. If he failed a quiz people would think, “Oh that’s too bad,” and then move on. For whatever reason people have defined these schools as an education casualty and moved on. Honestly from what I hear it sucks in all different places including urban schools.
    Basically what is comes down to is that these movies wanted to make a feel good movie with a compelling drama that wouldn’t offend too many people. My attitude is that people should wake up and actually fix these schools that is best for the people and not necessarily the way that we would do it.

  7. Grace B says:

    I remember catching this skit when it first aired on Mad TV a few years back and being coupled over with laughter. This kind of humor that plays up the urban street life is something that I have grown up accustomed to having spent 13 years of my education in the diverse New York City public school system. Although racial stereotyping, inequality of opportunity, and economic disparities within minority groups in America are a large problem facing our society and not a laughing matter at all, it is Hollywood’s fixation with portraying these problems through a distinctly white lens that makes for this hysterical parody.
    The concept of educated whites being able to pull minority groups, especially minority youths, out of their socioeconomic oppression is a tried and tested Hollywood formula that is pleasing to the majority of potential audiences i.e. white America, (as of 2008 nearly 80% of the American population is listed as White or Caucasian). Many would argue that this Hollywood formula and its consequent success is evidence of white guilt over the system of White Supremacy that this country is founded upon and still maintains despite centuries of improvements. Although the message behind films such as Freedom Writers, The Blind Side, and even teen films such as Take the Lead, is hopeful in that it encourages interracial learning and comradery, it still glorifies whites, and in doing so does not work towards dismantling agents of oppression, subordination and racism in our society.

  8. Daphney says:

    I have to admit, MADTV over SNL any day.
    This clip was a hilarious take on so many movies, with the recent Freedom Writers and the Blind Side.
    I think Shane made some interesting points but I have to disagree with comparing the “nice white lady” with the “tough black guy”. These movies tend to be different in many ways, one of which is that these “troubled, urban youth” usually lacks a black male role model in their lives. So while the “nice white lady” is often ridiculous, the “tough black guy” should be lauded. I always find that movies with “tough, black guys” represent a break in the cycle. A “nice, white lady” can come, but how much in common does she really have with the kids, if she hasn’t been through the same things, and usually in those movies she hasn’t.
    I went to a diverse NYC public school with a good academic reputation, however, I knew others, of all races, who did not get that chance.
    It always angers me that the troubled, urban youth is always black or latino, because I know troubled, urban youth of other races–just a side note.
    Lauri, hun, you get 2 snaps from me, as you said almost all I wanted to.
    Where is the minority that helps the other minority in movies?
    Hollywood is in the business if making money…

  9. isaiasg1 says:

    See, I can honestly say that I didn’t laugh one bit while watching this video. I feel that media plays a huge role into the stereotypes that many people have today. From shows like family guy, south park, and the cleveland brown show ( i hate all of these by the way). Amaury and I attended the same middle school and high school. Yeah there were some bad ass students but there were good students like Amaury and I (hahah sike). Yeah, some students dropped out but others went to better themselves by going to college and trying to break all the stereotypes that minorities from the inner city will not become anything.
    I know that minorities have to help themselves but society and the media do not make it easier by having videos like this. I understand that it is to make a joke and be funny but it may not be easy for a student of color to see this. For example the student can think “this is what I am supposed to be so fuck it all, why should I strive?” I think the video is just putting an impression in their head and makes a path for them to fail. Again, I know it is for jokes and stuff but I feel that if it would be cut out maybe people wouldn’t have all the wrong perceptions about people of color. Or maybe there should be a restriction on the age that people can watch the shows. Is it just me that think this way and stuff?
    I might be thinking things to critically. Earlier in the blog post someone said “the white lady saves the day” But why do we never see in movies a person of color saving the day? I am sure it happens but there are no movies or shows about it. It’s something to talk about

  10. Rachel says:

    I absolutley loved this post! I’ve seen this mad TV episode before and I think it is just hilarious. I love MAD TV and SNL. I think that yes, it is stereotyping, however it is in good fun and for all races to enjoy. That’s the best part about these shows; although they bring about contreversy of racisim, they portray it against or toward all races and if you let some ignorance go, you’ll be able to laugh out loud.

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