Linguistics and Codes of Cool

09 Oct 2007

jason-williams-white-chocolate.jpgIn the AICP show this year there were 3 award winning spots rooted in the idea of “White Kids acting Black”

1) Adidas “3 Courts” – White kid puts on special sneakers and can hop across 3 courts better than all them jumpity black kids.

2) Smirnof “Tea Partay” – The viral sensation of Vineyard preps rapping and rumpshaking.

3) Star Trek “Cribs” – Animated Trek characters on the YoYoYo Turntable tip.

Well, BFD, we’ve been milking black culture for ‘cool’ since before Charlie Parker played a note. (metoo) But it is the couterpointing of this slam dunking/hip-hopping definition of Blackness that caused Raafi’s essay about Black Nerds to go viral.
From the traffic, I was directed toward the work of Mary Bucholtz, a scholar of Nerditry at UCSB. She writes that white nerds typically eschew their peers’ aforementioned adoption of black style and slang. Mary also dips into how “Hollywood has long traded in jokes that try to capitalize on the emotional dissonance of [white] nerds acting black (Eugene Levy saying, ‘You got me straight trippin’, boo’) and black people being nerds [aka ‘acting white’] – like Steve Urkel and Carlton Banks.” All food for thought. Gritty like wheatgrass. Do click on the above articles to read more.

4/10/08: An article from San Jose about race, academia and cool.