Discussions about race can be tricky, but there are certain truths we can all agree on:
For instance, no one would dispute that Blake Lively is one of the whitest human beings on the planet.
And yet, here’s Blake in a L’Oreal commercial claiming that she’s a descendant of the Cherokee Nation:
“I’m English, Irish, German and Cherokee,” Blake tells the camera, apparently unaware of the fact that her whiteness is literally all over her face.
The ad is part of L’Oreal’s new “buy makeup from us because we’re supes woke” campaign.
Unfortunately, no one told the folks in marketing that Blake has a history of being messy on racial issues, so L’Oreal doubled-down with not one, but two spots in which the actress tries to convince us that she’s ethnic.
Warning for those who are triggered by Maximum Whiteness:
Twitter had a field day with this one, responding to Blake’s claim with many a “Sure, Jan” GIF, and there’s good reason for their skepticism:
Warning: We’re about to drop some US history on y’all, so get ready to draw boobs on the Statue of Liberty in your textbook while you pretend to pay attention:
Let us begin by saying there are millions of people who can legitimately claim Native American heritage.
But there are also a whole lot of people who claim to be of Cherokee descent just because they’ve been fed a line of BS by their parents.
There are several reasons for this, one of which is the fact that early 19th Century southern whites romanticized the Cherokees (while subjugating and oppressing every other race! Go figure!), and it became trendy to claim you were descended from a “Cherokee princess.”
Cherokee women married white men with greater frequency than the women of other tribes, which made such stories believable in the eyes of other whites.
“The Cherokees were viewed as a ‘civilized’ tribe,” Cherokee Nation citizen and genealogist Twila Barnes explains on her blog.
Add to that the fact that anyone who claimed to be Cherokee could apply for restitution funds allotted to the tribe in the early 1900s, and it becomes clear that the reason so many white people claim to be Cherokee is probably that their great-grandfathers were jerk-asses.
We understand that all of this can be confusing, so here’s a simple rule of thumb:
If you’re married to Ryan Reynolds or ever were married to Ryan Reynolds, you’re whiter than Bob Saget ordering an IPA while watching a hockey game at Cracker Barrel.