I know you’ve probably seen it, but I’m starting with this:
Arguably one of the most memorable films of 2005 [tenth highest-grossing that year], Hitch wormed its way into our hearts due to a number of reasons. First and foremost was Will Smith, but trailing surprisingly close behind was his co-star, Kevin James, and the bumbling Caucasian everyman he represented.
Now, I’m not one to perpetuate racial stereotypes; I’ve had too many people assume I like rice just by looking at me. But here’s the thing: I Love Rice. As much as many of us would hate to admit it, stereotypes typically have some kind of truth to them. The one I’m writing about today is one many of you have probably heard, and that is that:
White People Can’t Dance.
This is a truth I’ve come to more or less believe due to personal experience. The first piece of evidence being found in college dances I attended [student body 95% Caucasian]. The second was while working at a nightclub a few years ago. A group of four to five white people in their late 20s/early 30s came up to the floor I was busing, and it. . . wasn’t pretty.
Bringing this back to the beginning, what I’ve found is that a lot of the aforementioned not only love that clip from Hitch, they live it. In the most literal sense. Many know the dance by heart, and at parties moves like “the Q-tip” actually make an appearance. The character of Albert Brennaman has been lifted up to this odd place of veneration, his dancing a guide and example for others.
To put it simpler, they are proud of the way they move. There’s no shame there, and they’ve owned the fact that for the most part others don’t think they can dance. Without that social buffer of potential embarrassment, they unknowingly keep the stereotype alive. It’s a vicious cycle, and one illustrated in the equation below:
“White People Can’t Dance” —> white people dance however they want —> white people can’t dance
I’m not judging, it’s just a cultural observation. For an ethnic group to take pride in something they’re not good at is a strange thing, sort of like if Asians decided to own the stereotype that they’re bad drivers. In this case, however, no one is at risk of getting hurt. One group is content to move however they please, and the other is more than happy to sit back and watch it happen.
I leave you with an uncomfortable clip of white people dancing to “Take On Me.”