A List Of People Allowed To Make Jokes About Colored People Time, Explained

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) and his wife Chirlane McCray (left) look on as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a debate watch party on April 14, 2016, in New York City. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) and his wife Chirlane McCray (left) look on as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a debate watch party on April 14, 2016, in New York City. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Who is Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton is the name of the made-up politician invented and expertly portrayed by Saturday Night Live's amazing Kate McKinnon. (Who, btw, is so good in her bits — this "Close Encounter" skit is a classic — that she should just change her name to The Amazing Kate McKinnon.)


Stop playing. I know you know Hillary Clinton is a real person.

I know. I just have trouble believing it sometimes. She has a palpable and authentic inauthenticity. Like a fake pair of Jordans made in a real Nike factory.

Who is Bill de Blasio?

Bill de Blasio is tall.

Why are they in the news today?

While on stage last weekend at an event where de Blasio was set to officially endorse Clinton, they (de Blasio and Clinton) thought it would be a good idea to devise a humorous skit where de Blasio joked about being on colored people time.

What is colored people time?

The best way to describe colored people time would be that I planned on publishing this piece at 3pm, but it didn't actually publish until 6:34pm.


Why did it take you so long?

Because I'm a colored person. And despite carrying with me three separate devices that inform me of the time — a phone, a watch, and a laptop — when it comes to "when things I'm involved in are supposed to happen," things just never seem to happen less than 17 minutes after they're supposed to happen. I don't know why this happens. I actually think us being allowed to be late to everything should be a surcharge America pays us for that slavery thing — stopwatch reparations, if you will — but that's just me.


The cruelest cinematic example of the danger of colored people time occurs in Goodfellas, as Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) actually kills Stacks (Samuel L. Jackson) for shit related to his chronic lateness…and then comments about him being late to his own funeral while killing him!

Wow, that was cold. Well, did the joke work when Clinton and de Blasio tried it?

Of course not. One because Hillary Clinton seems to have the comedic chops of a Brookstone meat thermometer. But mainly because neither Clinton nor de Blasio possess the requirements necessary to tell a joke about colored people time in front of a bunch of White people.


Such as?

Be a colored person.

That's it?

That's not enough?

It is, I'm just asking if being a colored person is the only requirement.

It's not the only requirement. But it is a baseline requirement. The baseline requirement. Kind of like how knowing how to read isn't the only skill you need to possess to be a teacher. You also need to know how to create lesson plans and manage classrooms and trick lunchladies in giving you free pizza and shit. But you can't be a teacher if you can't fucking read first.


Even if the joke is a joke about how you can't joke about it, and includes assistance from a Black person?

Yes. Meta jokes about racism have such a high degree of difficulty and such a pronounced potential downside — the existence of Tropic Thunder's Kirk Lazarus is the only recent example of it working I can think of, where it was pitch-perfect and actually funny — that it's best to avoid attempting them altogether.


What if, like de Blasio, you have a Black wife and a biracial son?

At an interracial wedding, is the White groom or bride required to inject themselves with a shot of Black people melanin? (I've never been to an interracial wedding before. So forgive my ignorance if this happens. Perhaps this replaces the broom jump.)


Of course not.

So there's no process non-Black people go through when married to Black people to make themselves Black too?



So, despite being married to a Black woman and the father of a biracial child, Bill de Blasio is not Black? And is, in fact, still White?



Then no, having a Black wife and biracial son does not put you on the list of people where its okay to make a colored people time joke in front of a bunch of White people.


Well, can a non-Black person make that joke in front of a bunch of Black people?

A pancake with a bunch of blueberries in it is just a blueberry pancake.




Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Yeah, Hillary sucks.

The funny thing about this is that most minority groups have their own equivalent of CPT. Native Americans call it IPT or Indian People Time. Indians, from India, also have their equivalent. And I think Mexicans also have an equivalent to CPT.

I've never heard of WPT though, I wonder why Brown and Black folks started this? Is it a way of laughing off being called lazy by White folks? I'm really curious why different groups of Brown and Black folks use this term.

And, yeah, Hillary sucks. And so does Bill for doing this. I hope Black folks in NY are paying attention.