SNL’s Sasheer Zamata Tries to Explain Privilege to a White Dude
It doesn’t go well.
In a new video for the ACLU, SNL comedian and actress Sasheer Zamata, who is an ACLU celebrity ambassador for women’s rights, plays a role many women of color have to play during the course of their lives: an educator to their white male friends on the pitfalls of privilege. The three-minute comedic skit depicts Zamata walking down a street with her white male friend, who is explaining to her why, as a society, we’ve come a long way from gender and racial inequality. “Why worry about what other people think or say about you? If other people want to go negative, that’s their problem, not yours,” he lectures. “You just have to have confidence in yourself.”
Meanwhile, her friend is oblivious to the barrage of sexual harassment Zamata is fielding as they walk down the street. One man cat-whistles, another begs for her smile. She zips up a hoodie, then dons a hazmat suit to cover up. Still, it does little to stem the tide of sexual provocation.
As her friend lectures to her about the meritocracy—“In my experience, everybody in this country is treated fairly,” he says—Zamata is pulled aside by a police officer because she “fit the description”. The cop holds up a skin color sample to illustrate.
But of course, when her white male friend boastfully proclaims himself a “feminist,” the mayor emerges out of nowhere to offer him a key to the city, and a crowd of adoring fans surround him for selfies. Luckily, he experiences a minor enlightenment by the end of the video. Check it out below.