Wednesday, April 23, 2008

laugh at lol cats

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. . . . whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow "them" to be more like "us."

I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.

As I've said before
, I have a problem with how common it is to call attention to whiteness by laughing at it, instead of taking it seriously. However, some folks at LiveJournal have put together an irresistable photo essay, a must-see for concerned citizens everywhere.

Their postmodern montage will resonate more with people who spend a lot of time on the Internets, and thus know what LOL Cats means, and also to people who have more than a passing familiarity with the concept of "white privilege," and thus know what the Invisible Knapsack is.

But evn if ur nawt 1 of thoze peepulz, chances ar u still enjoy. Reddy? Go:

(hat tip to Baudrillard's Bastard--thanks, Ortho!)


  1. I just ran across this on livejournal as well and recently posted it on my blog. I really like what you have to say and I'm going to include a link on my blog. Keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks for posting that! Made my day. Those are some clever cat people.

  3. Interesting blog you got here. Thanks for linking to mine.

  4. Thanks micah, amy and ortho. Race is serious stuff, but we all should feel free to express our full range of emotions, including humor. I wish white people could laugh at themselves more with serious laughter, informed laughter, instead of the usual frivolous, trivializing laughter.

  5. Hey Macon! I never post here, but I check in everyday. You linked to this thread in the comments recently. I just wanted to say, in general, I don't 'get' lol cats. It's just not funny to me, maybe because I don't like cats, but these 'knapsack' lol cats are sooooo offensive to me. I get Peggy, I enjoy her work, but I'm also a young black woman who is forced to deal with the stereotype of presumed ignorance irl. So, I really don't get how one-liners that sound like 'white people's ebonics' can be effectively deployed in anti-racism.

    Or am I just not getting it because I'm black?

  6. Thanks for the input, Honeybee. I have no idea if you're not getting the humor here because you're black -- maybe it is more of a white thing, but surely some black people laugh at LOL Cats.

    I guess the reason I see for using the LOL Cats concept in terms of white privilege is to spread awareness of white privilege -- a lot of white folks like LOL Cats, so seeing these about white privilege might get more of them to think about the concept. But I can see how from other perspectives, joking about white privilege, this way or any other way, could be offensive. As I said in a comment above, I hope that any white laughter about this is "serious laughter, informed laughter, instead of the usual frivolous, trivializing laughter" at race-related humor.

  7. I think this is fucking hilarious - I'm Asian and I love LOLcats and yeah, it's DEF. shit I have to deal with irl, but I'm hoping the same as you, that people who think it's funny realize the message behind the humor.

    Fuckin' a - LOLCats all the way!


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