Actor Michael Rapaport attends the Roc Nation Summer Classic Charity Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on July 21, 2016, in New York City. (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

As one of the foremost repositories for metadata in the burgeoning sociological science of wypipology, Black Twitter often provides empirical evidence that validates certain collectively assumed hypotheses as actual fact. Today we examine the theory of line stepping.

While this concept might sound like the ritual dances performed at Que parties when the DJ plays “Atomic Dog,” it is actually a valuable lesson about Caucasian comrades. Namely, the idea that—given the chance—your white friends will always cross the line.

Maybe they will believe that they are so cool, they will assume that they can partner with you on the spades table. They might become so comfortable with their perceived proximity to blackness that they will assume they can use the n-word.

Or—in the case of “actor” Michael Rapaport—they might assume that their provisional cookout invitation comes with the ability to throw shade at black royalty without having the shit slapped out of their translucent, albumenlike face.

Because whiteness comes with the inherent inability to stay in their lane, on Super Bowl Sunday “Janet Jackson Appreciation Day,” the urban-adjacent actor decided to show how edgy and “down” he was by dissing Janet Jackson on Twitter.


Notwithstanding the fact that Rapaport hasn’t been relevant since the Bush administration (it doesn’t matter which Bush; pick one), the semen-hued thespian thought he could get away with throwing shade at Penny from Good Times.


Black Twitter wasn’t having any of that.



Of course, it was just a joke. Because, as our studies show, white people love jokes (except when the jokes are at their expense; then they retreat to the walls of the “not all white people” fort and proclaim racism and how it’s OK to be white).

But I am not here to castigate the guy you have to Google to remember who the fuck he is (I loved him as the sidekick on Doogie Howser, M.D. Wait ... that’s not him?); I am here to defend Michael Rapaport.

You have to respect Rapaport, not only for his acting but for his Hall of Fame basketball career. (Wait ... that’s Chris Mullin? Well, damn!) Plus, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his groundbreaking role in the film We Need to Talk About Kevin. (That was Tilda Swinton? Now I’m just confused!)


Anyway, even though I might have no idea who Michael Rapaport is, this guy who looks like the love child of Pikachu and the Pillsbury Doughboy was right when he said, “Motherfucka’s wanna make nothing something.”

Of course, to him, Janet Jackson is nothing. The fact that Jackson’s IMDb page makes his look like an Arby’s application is inconsequential to Rapaport. That one of the biggest stars in the history of pop music was blackballed for her Super Bowl halftime show while her white co-participant got the chance to redeem himself with a mediocre performance dressing the musical stylings of Jackson’s brother in whiteface and blond hair might not mean much to the former Celtics star. (Oh, that’s Brian Scalabrine? My bad.)

Black Twitter is being unfair. After all, if we condemned every white boy for sidling up to black culture and then tossing it aside when it was convenient to do so, there’d be no Michael Rapaport.


That’s just science.