Roseanne Barr Is a White Woman [Updated]

Illustration for article titled Roseanne Barr Is a White Woman [Updated]
Screenshot: ABC

My capacity for being surprised by white people acting white is shrinking at an exponential rate. It was never a generous amount, but what was already small is getting even smaller. That said, I was somewhat surprised by the amount of surprise so many (white) people seemed to possess when they discovered within the last couple years that Roseanne Barr is a white woman.

Of course, we’ve always known that Roseanne looks and appears to be white. This has never been in doubt. But there seemed to be a widely held assumption that she wasn’t also culturally white, when there’s literally zero concrete evidence to suggest otherwise. Her entire shtick—from her stand-up to her show—is that she happens to be a normal, regular white woman. Quick-witted, observant, funny and (now) powerful, also. But the normal, regular-white-woman thing is her base thing. And the election proved, quite demonstratively, that normal, regular white women are Donald Trump supporters. Expecting her to be anything else is like expecting to be able to breathe underwater.

Her defense of Trump is what you’d expect from a normal, regular white woman with her power and platform. As are her regular attacks on former President Barack Obama and her tweets about his former adviser Valerie Jarrett, for which she has now apologized. She is a tiger gone tiger.


And because she’s a normal, regular woman who is also white, she will continue to be defended. Excuses will continue to be made for her. Opportunities will continue to exist. Chances will continue to refresh. Consequences will continue to be a thing that other people have to deal with, like seasonal allergies.

But who knows? Maybe I’ll be surprised.

Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 2:20 p.m. EDT: Shit. I’m surprised.

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)

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Damon Young

Shit. I’m ... surprised.