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white people whitesplain whitesplaining

This 2015 video from MTV News weekly series Decoded satirically parodies White people “whitesplaining whitesplaining.” Whitesplaining is the term used to describe the act of White people patronizingly explaining or defining to a person of color what should or shouldn’t be racist against people of color. Through a series of interactions between Franchesca Ramsey and a range of White characters interrupting and talking over her and each other, this video shows what “whitesplaining” and White “mansplaining” can look like. The White characters include friends, partners, a man from a “diverse” neighborhood, a man with dreadlocks, a professor of African American studies, a woman with a “talking stick,” a woman with an Oprah shirt, Rachel Dolezal, and references to these characters being “in the know” because they saw movies like Twelve Years a Slave and read articles about race in The Atlantic. The clip ends with one of the characters stopping everyone from speaking and once again defining whitesplaining to Franchesca and telling her that she wouldn’t put up with it if she were her. Franchesca responds that she doesn’t know what to say right now, and the group of White characters all say, “you’re welcome.”


What is “whitesplaining?” What is “mansplaining?” Why are these speaking practices considered condescending and otherwise problematic?

What does it mean to be an ally? What is the difference between speaking with versus speaking for someone?

Which stereotypical liberal White ally characters are represented in this video? How do each of them express their knowledge and good intentions, while also exposing their privilege and obliviousness to the way they are talking over or speaking for Franchesca and People of Color generally?

How does this video use satire to point out White- and mansplaining? Do you think it is successful in doing what it is trying to achieve? Why or why not?

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