jen the pen i'm white

On Monday night’s episode of Love & Hip Hop, blogger and struggling radio personality Jen the Pen said what some found unforgivable. During a contrived argument with a non-white cast member over whether Jen would make it onto NYC radio, Jen retorted, “I’m white. It will get done.”

Hear that?

It was the sound of the record skipping.

I had the show on as background noise while I was doing my taxes, and had to pause, turn, grab the remote, and rewind. It was a clip from the commercial. “Um, say what, white girl?”

I held my judgment until the full scene aired. In context, she wasn’t dead wrong for saying it. There were mentions throughout the episode of the other cast member referring to her as “my white” this or that.

As I predicted, Jen apologized almost before the show was off the air. It went:

Racist is the last thing I could EVER be. But being called an “entitled HONKY” on national [TV] is okay? Please be clear anything regarding race was heat on the moment, the devil will bring out the worst in you. This is what my family is made of, if my comments affected anyone I apologize.

Of course, anger is a valid excuse and it’s not like anyone ever says what they really think when they’re heated and in IDGAF mode. And you know, her family’s Black, right? So that absolutely absolves her of any chance at being a racist. (Insert side-eye.)

I’m actually not here to talk about whether she is racist or isn’t. What I do want to discuss is whether Jen was inaccurate.

Black Twitter was upset at her Monday night. Jen was ripped a new one for dangling her privilege the way some writers dangle participles. Her mentions? Shenanigans and shambles.

Were folk mad because you know, in “civilized” society, you don’t talk about privilege, you just accept the benefits of it — whatever yours are — pretend it doesn’t exist and stack while others struggle and futilely fight it. Is it that Jen flaunted what no white person is supposed to, especially not one raising a Black bi-racial child with a Black rapper. Or is it because she might have confirmed what many people of color think, or hell, know to be true about the privileges of whiteness?

Surely, I’m not the only one that was told by the Black elders that, in order to succeed, I needed to be twice as good to get half as far as my white counterparts. And surely again, I can’t be the only one who sat in the front row of a 101 college lecture hall watching a white professor draw diagrams of marginalization and see how far away from the center black was … and how being black and woman was one of the farthest rings.

In my kumbaya moments — i.e., when I’m willfully trying to not think too hard — it’s nice to pretend we’re all equals with the same opportunities if we all just did our best. But in two quick sentences, Jen just up and burst everybody’s “can’t we all just get along?” bubble.

Hearing her namedrop her privilege, was like a confirmation for every time you seemed to think an attractive Black man was running past you to get to the busted white girl and thought … well, you know what you thought. For every time the long-haired girl in front of you in class (or the elevator), flipped her hair inconsiderately just so, letting the breeze slapped your face and you wondered if you were overreacting. Every time you watched a mediocre white co-worker get promoted, and you sat, trying to hold it together and thinking, “Are you blankety-blank-blank kidding me?”

Nope, you weren’t crazy, boo. Thank Jen for confirming it for you.

She was wrong.

Maybe she’s racist.

But unfortunately? She was probably right.

Love & Hip Hop
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Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria), in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

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  • It would have been hilarious if ole’ girl had responded with “I guess that’s why Eminem and Justin Bieber are stackin paper to the ceiling and Consequence is doin reality TV. White rappers get it done!”

  • shay

    Love the article but I’m a black girl who is surprised with herself for being on Jen side in this situation. Clearly the prejudice comments Rocky have been making all season got to her. In every clip Rocky made mention of Jen’s race, eg Rocky stated at 1 point that she was going to “white her (Jen’s) wrongs”. I found that offensive. And she did it several times after that. How can see as black people use the race card in every situation even among friends then be upset when they turn it back at us…. plus she also stated that she slept with Jens boyfriend. Not ture but u said it out of anger because u wanted what u said to sting but when someone say something out of anger cause they wanted to sting u right back its a problem….I just feel that the same level of respect that we want from white people around us we should have for ourselves. I don’t think race comments on either side sould be tolerated.

    • Tashlala

      I completely agree with you. I am Black American and I too find myself siding with Jen.

  • Leslie

    Raqi made reference to Jen’s race the entire show, so when Jen turns it on her, it’s wrong? Get outta here! That’s the same ridiculous belief that we can say ni**a to each other or when we’re singing a song, but no one else can…idiotic!

    Jen was flippin the script. Raqi wanted Jen to “white her wrongs” and contribute her “white girl tips” but it’s a problem when Jen wants to use her race to make a point it’s wrong…
    ya’ll ABUSING THE RACE CARD! Quit being so quick to toss it


    You sound dumb af. It don’t MATTER what Raquel said. She wrong about whiting her wrong?!?!? I dont understand. Raquel may had made comments about her being a white girl but AINT SHE??!?!?!?!?? She’s a WHITE GIRL trying to live in OUR CULTURE. Duh!?! You can’t justify what she said. SHE RIGHT. IF YOU WHITE YOU ARE RIGHT. Duh!??! you stupid for talking about you on her side. dumb broad smh. This is why a white momma to a black son feels this way. Thanks to dumb broads like YOU. Self hating smh.

  • Me

    This is sad, it’s like being drunk, you say what you mean especially when angry, take responsibility for your actions! Since you R Jen the Pen, suck it up, and don’t say things you have to take back later, don’t blame the devil for your words, you didn’t have to respond in the same way! It only made you look ignorant! And selfish, no one told you to say it, you made that choose, Con don’t defend ignorance, it only makes you look ignorant too! Her true colors showed, worse part is that Jen’s anger wasn’t really for Raqi but you because you won’t compromise on your family situation, and neither will she! You knew who you are in a relationship with that’s not going to change! Then you have now mutiplied, you both knew the consequences! Convert or leave, man is head of house, in my book! If my husband as me to convert I would! It’s not what your loosing but what you are gaining, it’s sad that you don’t see Cons as a gain, but only a pocket full of money!! Good luck to you and your family!