Alana has been raised to express herself in the urban patois of reality TV’s black women. Nearly every utterance includes a head swivel, a sassy snap or an “oh-no-she-din’t.” It’s a funny and deeply disturbing tangle of cultural cues, as this chubby little white girl essentially performs a 21st-century version of minstrelsy. By finding Alana hilarious and egging her on, her family and her viewers are participating in a complicated, multilayered, possibly benign display of latent racism that could keep linguistics professors and social scientists busy for decades.

Bob Bruhin

Bob Bruhin is a web developer, tour guide, art photographer, author, blogger, and graphic designer. His love of urban landscapes, especially in post-industrial Philadelphia, PA, leads him to document some of the darker corners of his city.


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