Tropedia

  • Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.

READ MORE

Tropedia
Advertisement
WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
Cquote1.svg
"Then they'll say some stupid shit like, 'Oh, Karen, I didn't notice you're black.' Don't say that to black people. We're really codependent and we're worried about your blind ass."
Karen Williams
Cquote2.svg


When a character says or does something racist, sexist or homophobic in front of the Token Minority, The Chick, or Ambiguously Gay person, either because they're an Innocent Bigot or because they said something easily Mistaken for Racist. Usually, the character will respond with a caustic one-liner like "I'm Standing Right Here".

This has been played for laughs with a Token White. Otherwise, it usually pops up in the Very Special Episode, after which the characters go back to totally ignoring the issue.

Much more offensive than You Are a Credit to Your Race.

The logical conclusion of You Know What They Say About X.... See also Insult Friendly Fire for this sans racial components.

Examples of You Know I'm Black, Right? include:


Anime and Manga

  • Possibly parodied in Wolf's Rain. When the wolves (disguised as humans from the viewers' perspective) are walking through a forest, Toboe is puzzled by the lack of any animals. Hige replies, "You know you're a wolf, don't you? They probably ran away when they saw us coming."

Comic Books

  • Astro City has a humorously overblown example. A boisterous comic book publisher releases a comic Very Loosely Based on a True Story in which the supervillain Glowworm is ascribed a white supremacist motivation that was not substantiated by the actual events. Glowworm, a monstrous glowing green man with a tail in place of legs, attacks the publisher at a comic convention:
Cquote1.svg

 Glowworm: You know what color I am? You know what color I used to be?!?

Publisher: No, but I can make a guess...

Glowworm: Do you have any idea what my mother thought when she read this?!?

Publisher: What does she think of your robbing banks?

Cquote2.svg
  • He doesn't say anything actually racist, but early in A God Somewhere a white guy is helping his Black Best Friend move to a new place. He opens the box he's been carrying to see a multitude of Black History books inside. Puzzled, he asks his friend why the friend has so many of these books and why he reads them. The friend just looks at him and after a moment the white guy is going "Oh, right..." then tries to explain that he sometimes forgets his friend is black. That doesn't exactly fly either.
  • In New X-Men, Rockslide taunts gay Anole by calling him a "big sissy." Anole immediately opens a can of whoopass on him, which is impressive, considering Rockslide is twice his size and made out of lava, and Anole isn't exactly the biggest Badass on the team. As it happens, Rockslide didn't know and was just being his usual insensitive self, but Anole's not interested in excuses.
  • In Quantum and Woody issue #4, Quantum is repeatedly called "noogie" (a substitute for the n-word) several times by a homeless street dweller. Quantum, whose costume covers his entire face and body, asks the guy how he knows he's black. "You're black? S-word!"
  • Spider-Man Family #9: Jean Grey of the X-Men gives a speech about how people treat mutants, people always assuming the worst and treating you like a freak and running scared at the slightest provocation...then realizes she's talking to Spidey and Bruce Banner. "Oop" indeed.
  • Somewhat subverted in DC Comics' Steel: Natasha Irons says to her white friend "Boris, in case you haven't noticed, I'm black" before realizing that he's just such a ditz he honestly hasn't occurred to him there's an unfortunate association in giving her a watermelon as a gift.
    • For those who are not Americans: This joke refers to the old American trope that the best way to portray a lazy black slave or even freedman was to show a scrawny old slave, lounging on a porch, eating a watermelon. The "blacks love watermelon and fried chicken" idea is a well-worn staple of stereotypical humor.


Films

  • There's a literal example of this in If You Could See What I Hear, a biopic about blind musician Tom Sullivan. In bed, his new girlfriend asks him if it "feels different" making love to her because she's black, and he's surprised by the question because he hadn't even realized she was.
  • In the film, The Jerk, Navin (played by Steve Martin), after striking it rich, was talking to several financial advisers and people who wanted him to invest his newfound wealth. One guy was suggesting a housing/apartment complex and detailed that they would of course keep the "n****rs" away. Navin, who was raised by a black family (oblivious to his own whiteness for decades), snapped at him, saying "Sir, you are talking to a n****r!" and proceeded to kick his ass with martial arts skills not shown before or after in the movie.
  • At the beginning of Stand by Me, Chris, Teddy, and Gordie are sitting in their tree-house, playing cards, when Chris decides to tell a joke.
Cquote1.svg

 Chris: How do you know if a Frenchman has been in your back yard?

Teddy: Hey, I'm French, okay?

Chris: Your garbage cans are empty and your dog's pregnant.

*Chris and Gordie laugh*

Teddy: Didn't I just say I was French?

Cquote2.svg


Literature

  • In the second Night Huntress book, Cat gets really pissed about her team's racism against vampires without remembering that she is half-vampire herself.

Live-Action TV

  • 30 Rock: Taken Up to Eleven, to the point of parody. Jack proudly announces to a room full of old, white, rich, conservative business executives that he has a liberal girlfriend. Cue the other men coming out with all sorts of other "confessions"--their children went to public school, they listen to NPR, and . . .
Cquote1.svg

 Black guy: I'm black!

Cquote2.svg
  • In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, to Dick this has happened multiple times in the same few minutes, so, in order to prevent it from happening to him again, he puts a sticky-note on his secretary reading 'Nina is Black'.
  • In Angel, Cordelia calls Willow, who has broken up with her boyfriend and acquired a girlfriend in Cordy's absence, to ask her about her old friend Hermony's irritating behavior.
Cquote1.svg

Cordelia: (on the phone) Oh! Harmony's a vampire! ...All this time I thought she'd become a great big lesbo! (Beat) ...Oh really? ...Well that's great! Good for you!

Willow: Thanks for the validation.

Cquote2.svg
  • Jake in Becker: "I'm a blind black man; we just sail through life."
  • Subverted in the Chappelle's Show skit Black White Supremacist. A blind black man grows up under the impression he is white. He becomes a prominent white supremacist writer until he finds out he is black.
    • Note that he stays a white supremacist. He even leaves his wife for marrying a black man, even though this black man is himself.
  • One of Judge Milianis' cases in Court TV, the plaintiff informed the judge that the defendants were - ugh - lawyers! ...It turns out, so are all judges.
  • Somewhat parodied in a deleted scene of Criminal Minds, in which the line was not actually meant to be racist, but is jokingly taken that way. When Reid (white) tricks Morgan (black) into losing at Gin on the plane, he gloats, "When are you people going to learn never to play cards with a magician?" Morgan replies, "What do you mean 'you people'?"
    • For context, because it's interesting: the scene is an alternate ending to an episode which deals heavily with race relations.
  • Degrassi the Next Generation, "Pride, part 1": When Paige asks Spinner to carry her beach bag, which happens to be floral patterned, he tells her that he can't, because it make people will mistake him for a "homo". Spinner then realizes it was a mistake to say that in front of Paige's brother, Dylan, who is gay:
Cquote1.svg

 Spinner: I didn't mean 'homo' as in 'gay', I mean 'homo' as in...

Dylan: ...Milk?

Cquote2.svg
  • In the Puppy episode of Ellen, Ellen discussing coming out to her therapist who is played by Oprah Winfrey:
Cquote1.svg

Ellen: You don't understand. Do you think I want to be discriminated against? Do you think I want people calling me names to my face?

Therapist: Have people commit hate crimes against you because you're not like them.

Ellen: Thank you.

Therapist: Have to use separate bathrooms and separate water fountains and sit on the back of the bus.

Ellen: Oh man, we have to use separate water fountains?

Cquote2.svg
  • One episode of The George Lopez Show featured a racist scout leader for Max. During a discussion of how one can tell how different marks on an animal show whether they're aggressive, he mentions "Just like people." George questions this, to which he responds by asking which one a cop will question: a cute blonde or a Mexican. George responds with this trope.
Cquote1.svg

Scout: I mean, yah, but I mean, well, not you guys. I mean those 'me no speake' Mexicans.

Cquote2.svg
  • The British TV Biopic Hughie Green: Most Sincerely has a scene, possibly taken from real life, in which Green and his producer are holding an audition for Green's TV talent show. Green is enthusiastic about one candidate, but his producer says, "You know he's black, don't you?" Green rejects this racist attitude out of hand and passes the candidate over his producer's objections.
  • In the original UK version of Queer as Folk, Nathan moans that his best friend wouldn't understand what he's going through because she's straight; she snaps "I'm black. And I'm a girl. Try that for a week."
  • In one episode of Scrubs, Dr. Cox calls Turk "bro." Turk replies that "Bros don't even use bro. You're not as hip as you think you are." When Cox asks if Turk is, Turk points out that he's black.
Cquote1.svg

 Dr. Cox: You're black? 'Cause last I checked you had a nerdy white best friend, you enjoy Neil Diamond, and you damn sure act like a black guy... and these, my friend, are all characteristics of white guys. Please understand, I'm a huge supporter of the NAACP. If you don't know what that stands for, it's the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. And quite frankly, I always thought they should change the "colored people" to "African-Americans," but then of course it wouldn't be the NAACP, it'd be the N-quad-A or NAAAA. And I know this probably sounds like a digression but actually brings me back to my original point... Do I think you're black? Naaaaaaah!

Cquote2.svg
    • Of course, this may not necessarily be any better on Cox's part, since he seems to be suggesting race is determined by behaviors, as if Turk is less "black" because he listens to Neil Diamond and is best friends with a white guy.
      • Of course, some would argue being born into any particular group carries with it some obligation to participate in that group's culture, but that's a question that's waaaaay above our pay grade...
  • In a Very Special Episode of Smart Guy, Yvette and her friend Nina get jobs at a small store in the mall where Nina is given the following job:
Cquote1.svg

Nina: It is my happy task to follow black people around the store to make sure they don't steal.

Yvette: You know this is going to affect our friendship?

Cquote2.svg
    • And in the Black History Month episode, Marcus, Mo and Mackey (another Token White) each write a report on Jackie Robinson and have to read it in front of their class. Mackey has to go last, and when nobody claps after he's finished he says, "It's 'cause I'm white, isn't it?" Their white teacher nods.
  • A funny moment in Studio 60, when the black junior writer asks his co-writer whether calling his senior writers "sir" is a "white thing" gets the response, "I'm not white; I'm British."
    • This is Truth in Television, in that many Americans don't realize that racism works differently outside of the U.S. In America, racists tend to just go by how a person looks, whereas upon most of the rest of the planet, the racists actually try to figure out something to hate about someone's background.
      • On an episode of The Daily Show, Brit John Oliver explains that Americans don't know bigotry, but that Brits know real bigotry. "We're prejudiced against other, white Europeans. Michael Caine passed me in the hallway, heard my accent, headbutted me in the nose, and threw his laundry at me, and I have to do it, according to the rules of England! There is a little old lady in [some small British town] who feels hollandaise sauce is "Too Ethnic." She won't let her daughter date a Norman, because she hasn't forgiven William the Conqueror yet for the invasion of 1066!
      • Many nations couldn't care less about race, and may in fact be so mixed that you couldn't even name a race, other than the melting pot that is "Cuban" or "Jamaican." But social class is an entirely different story. And then there's prejudice among different skin tones or hair colors within the same race. Firecrotch. Quadroon.
  • The Yes, Dear episode where Jimmy became a housemate on Big Brother may qualify here. Although nothing offensive was said, when Jimmy asks the resident black, gay housemate his opinion on the attractiveness of a female classmate, he responds with "You know I'm gay, right?" Jimmy attempts to correct himself and restart the conversation by making a remark about one of the men's abs instead.
Cquote1.svg

Black, Gay Guy (in confessional): That's what I like about Jimmy. He didn't even seem to care that I'm gay... or notice.... Tomorrow I'm gonna tell him that I'm black!

Cquote2.svg


Machinima

  • Episode 11 of Arby 'n' the Chief found the Arbiter playing GTA 4 online with some friends, when they were joined by an irritating, obviously white suburban kid pretending to be a tough black gangbanger. Upon yelling "Don't hate da playa, hate da game, honkies!", one of the Arbiter's friends responds "Uh, FYI I'm actually black", which causes the kid to say "Oh...really?"
  • In Red vs. Blue, Church asks Tucker if he's black when he learns Tucker's first name is Lavernius. Tucker is annoyed that Church didn't know Tucker's race or Tucker's first name.
    • Later, the Blue team sees someone wearing pink armour in the Red base. They gush over there being a girl over there, and how unfair it is that they didn't have one. Much to Tex's chagrin: 'You do realise that I'm a chick, right? And I'm standing right here?'
Cquote1.svg

 Tucker: Yeah, but we mean a girl girl!

Tex: And what the hell does that mean?

Tucker/Caboose: Nothing!!!

Cquote2.svg


Newspaper Comics

  • Used with delicious sarcasm in a Doonesbury cartoon when a young man was refused entry to a country club, and the servant rejecting him said straight out that it was because he was black. He and his white friend Mark (whose father was a club member) pretended to have never noticed his skin color before. "Wow, wait'll I tell Mom!"
  • Subverted in The Far Side: One elephant is calming another elephant down who just heard an elephant joke said by one human to another: "He probably didn't know you were an elephant when he said that!"


Video Games

  • Can happen in Dragon Age II if you're playing a mage Hawke and you choose the right set of responses when talking to Cullen after a quest. He'll say that "Mages aren't people like you and me," even if you're wearing obvious robes, carrying a staff, and he's seen you casting spells in front of him during an earlier fight.
    • What's even funnier is that Hawke (yes, even Mage-Hawke) can agree with him. In front of your mage party members.
Cquote1.svg

Anders: Why do you do this right in front of me?

Cquote2.svg
  • This can happen in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as a side-effect of Welcome to Corneria. In the Fantastically Segregated city of Windhelm, NPCs are known to mutter about "damn Dark Elves" and "damn Argonians", even if Dovahkiin happens to be one. Borders on Too Dumb to Live if the player is trigger-happy.
  • Played with in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, where CJ has been working with Wu Zi, a Triad leader who tried hiding the fact that he's blind but fails spectacularly. When CJ responds to Woozie's big reveal by saying "(long pause) NO SHIT!", he then asks if Woozie knows he's black, quoting the trope title verbatim. The Triad's response? "I'm blind, Carl, not stupid."
    • Actually, with Woozie, Carl didn't know he was blind until an aide told him. Carl had trouble believing it because they were in a car race the week before. Also, to clarify, the 'no shit' answer was Carl doing a bad job at disguising the fact he already knew.
  • Mass Effect
Cquote1.svg

 Shepard: "You? I said a badass, not some scout whining like a Quarian with a tummyache."

Tali: "I'm standing right here!

Cquote2.svg

Webcomics

  • 8-Bit Theater likewise combines this with Fantastic Racism when Red Mage, in the process of explaining one of his needlessly complex and stupid plans, is interrupted by Black Mage, while standing right next to Thief:
Cquote1.svg

Black Mage: Let me stop you right there, before I am honor-bound to cut you like an elven whore.
Thief: Hold on. Elven whore? Do I even have to explain why that's offensive to me?
Black Mage: Look, if your mother had made dresses, I would have called her a tailor instead.

Cquote2.svg
  • In Loserz, when Carrie comments to Alice that her friend Jess coming out of the closet is disturbing, Alice responds with something similar to this trope.
Cquote1.svg

 Carrie: Doesn't that freak you out? Isn't that totally gross?

Alice: Let Me Get This Straight.... You're asking one of the only black girls at this school if she should be repulsed by somebody because she's different?

Cquote2.svg
  • Parodied in Rob and Elliot. Elliot makes a joke about a "dumb guy," prompting Rob to blow up in his face: "My mother was dumb! I'm half dumb!"
  • In RPG World, Soldier #347 makes elf jokes to Plum. Due to his poor vision, he doesn't realize Plum is an elf.
  • In this Something Positive strip, a white male Pagan ran across a Davan-created webcomic taking a potshot at Wicca and works himself into a righteous anger over the "persecution":
Cquote1.svg

 Pagan: You'll never know what its like to live with the pain of your ancestors being oppressed for who they were! That they lived in fear because they might get lynched! To know that they suffered so I'd have the right to --

[Panel with Kim (Black woman) staring at him]

Kim: Do you need some time to comprehend why saying that to me makes you stupid?

Pagan: ...No, I think I've got that figured out.

Cquote2.svg
    • Inverted in another: Aubrey is reprimanding one of her employees, who accuses her of being prejudiced against white people. Aubrey points out that she's half-white (the other half is Asian).

Western Animation

  • Used in an episode of 6Teen: While trying to ditch a crazy stalker girl, she thinks Jude and Wyatt are identical twins. Now go over to the page. Wyatt is the black guy in the red sweater. Jude is the skater dude in the ski cap. This finally leads Wyatt to snap, delivering this little gem.
Cquote1.svg

Wyatt: We're not twins! I'm black and he's white!

Cquote2.svg
  • The Archer episode "Diversity Hire" has a lot of fun with Lana getting this treatment from her coworkers because she views Conway as a possible mole.
Cquote1.svg

Malory: What are you, deaf and racist?
Lana: Racist? I'm black--"
Malory: Oh, put it back in the deck.

Cquote2.svg
Cquote1.svg

 Sokka: It's so dark in here, I can't see a thing!

Toph: Oh no, what a nightmare!

Cquote2.svg
    • Subverted in the finale when Sokka, Toph and Suki take over a Fire Nation airship:
Cquote1.svg

 Toph: Oh, sure, ask the blind girl to pilot the airship.

Sokka: Actually, I was talking to Suki.

Toph: Oh. That would make more sense.

Cquote2.svg
    • In Sokka's defense, Toph could "see" well enough with her Disability Superpower that it's pretty easy to see how he could forget she was impaired.
  • On Drawn Together, this is illustrated frequently between Foxxy Smith and the (occasionally) overly-naïve and sheltered Princess Clara in the series premiere and subsequent episodes.
  • On King of the Hill, Kahn had a chance to join a ritzy all-Asian country club, but only if he helped get Hank to join as their Token White. When Kahn expresses outrage at Hank's refusal, Hank exasperatedly comments that Kahn "wouldn't understand" his reasoning. Kahn responds that no, of course he wouldn't understand what it's like to be a token member of a group.
Cquote1.svg

 Kahn: Oh yes, I wouldn't understand. My original last name is Smith! I just changed it to Souphanousinphone when I moved to Texas!

Cquote2.svg
Cquote1.svg

Jenny: You think you're better than them!
Tuck: Duh! They're just stupid robots! (Cue Tuck's POV of the 6-&-a-half foot, 600 pound walking weapons platform giving him the Death Glare.)

Cquote2.svg
  • Variation from Teen Titans: In one episode where Starfire is the victim of Fantastic Racism, she asks Cyborg if he's ever had to deal with prejudice. Instead of uttering this phrase, he says "Sure I do. I'm part robot."
    • Though the question makes sense from Starfire since she's an alien and hangs out with wthe very colorful Teen Titans. It'd make sense that she'd never come across racism.

Real Life

  • CNN news anchor Soledad O'Brien, who is part black, has talked about sometimes receiving "compliments" along the lines of "I don't think of you as black." To which she has basically responded "Why? Because you don't think of black as equaling achievements, or good journalism, or good things? It's because you think black equals bad things."
    • Although really, they probably simply don't think of her as black because she doesn't look black. Same reason people don't think of Barack Obama as white, or think of Jason Kidd as black, or think of Tiger Woods as asian.
    • Relatedly, a lot of fat folk can only look in confusion at friends who say "Oh, don't worry, I don't think of you as fat." when what they actually mean is that they don't think you're ugly or lazy or any of the other associations Those Horrible Fat People have in their mind.
  • Will Smith, in telling the story of being cast as Jim West in Wild Wild West (who was white in the TV show), said that he mentioned to the producers that people might think it's a bit odd that they've cast him, to which they apparently replied "Oh, nobody knows you're black!"
    • There's another version of this story Smith has told, where he asked the producers something like, "Don't you think I look a bit different from the original actor?" and their reply was something to the effect of, "Yes, you're shorter, but no one will notice."
  • This always happens to gay people, at least once, because unless you're terribly flaming or have a couple, there's no way to differentiate homosexuals from other people.
    • And no matter what you do, it's impossible to tell if someone's bi. Given the amount of discrimination bisexuals face, this leads to a lot of Bi the Way moments.
  • Similarly, this often happens to people with different neurotypes like autism, dyslexia, ADHD, etc, since it's impossible to tell just by looking.
Advertisement