The New And Improved Jake From State Farm

Jake From State Farm: The Fragility Of White Privilege

Oh shit.

It happened.

The marketing folks over at State Farm decided to put a little.. color in their ad campaign.

Jake From State Farm, once a white character, is now black (and easy on the eyes no less), and of course, some white people have lost their minds.

You’ve probably seen the commercial. A State Farm policy holder makes a call to customer service at an odd hour in the morning. Like 3am (no really, that exact odd hour). While he is on the phone speaking very suggestively to the agent (at one point he says “Ohh I like that), his either girlfriend or wife comes downstairs and hears him talking. She suspects he’s having an illicit conversation.

When he tells her he’s talking to “Jake From State Farm”, she doesn’t believe him and takes the phone to ask Jake what he’s wearing. The camera than cuts to a black instead of white Jake in the office describing in detail what he’s wearing.

It’s not clear what prompted the early morning insurance call. Maybe the guy couldn’t sleep, and if there’s one thing I know that takes an inordinate amount of time and may put you to sleep, it’s dealing with insurance.

What I also know is that Jake From State Farm is a fake character as part of marketing for State Farm.

Jake is not a real person.

Now before I go on, I need to say that systemic racism is not an indictment on all white people. Some white people didn’t sign up for all this crap and are well aware of their role in the way black and brown people in America are treated. Some of them want change and want all of us to be treated equally.

The white people that don’t want change think every got damn thing belongs to them.

Even a fictional character like Jake From State Farm.

First name Jake.

Last name, From State Farm.

State Farm was clearly prepared for backlash. In some online checking to find out about the new actor, I can across Jake’s (not the actor who portrays him) twitter page (yup, it’s Jake From State Farm on twitter). In the comments of a post on the page, white people were asking, “Where is the original Jake? He was white!”

Oh the anguish! The despair!

In a few of Jake’s replies (he didn’t respond to all the stupidity), he just said that the old Jake was still around and they just had lunch.

The obvious planning ahead for negative responses shows great forethought on the part of State Farm, but the fact that they had to prepare for a shower of white tears is ridiculous.

From movies like Star Wars to The Little Mermaid, we’ve seen white people lose all of their shit when characters portrayed by white actors are changed to black actors.

Beyond the issue of representation that black actors deserve, these are characters. Fake people that don’t even exist in the real world, only in fantasy.

Which I guess is fitting since some white people fantasize that everything belongs to them. Even make believe.

How real is that?

Hey white people! The fragility of your privilege is showing!

This would be tragic if it weren’t so hilarious.

Scratch. It’s tragic AND hilarious.

You know how in scary movies with white people, they always go in the dark cave that says “Do No Enter”, or they go towards the hissing rattle snake that they hear but can’t see around the corner, or when someone is clearly breaking in their house, they call out, “Honey, is that you?”

For the longest time I never understood why this happened, but now as a full fledged black adult, I get it completely.

It’s representative of the fact that the only thing white people fear is equality.

Lions. Tigers. Bears, Snakes. They don’t give a shit about those, but I imagine if they were in the house and Dr. King starting speaking in another room, they wouldn’t go towards his voice. They would immediately run outside and call… well, not Jake From State Farm, but the police.

There are some white people that flat out believe they control the narrative. ANY narrative.

This thinking is so second nature that even questioning imagination is a knee jerk reaction. Their asking, “Where is the other Jake From State Farm?” is far from innocuous. It’s a fear that power is slipping away. That the tides may slowly be turning. That justice may actually be right around the corner.

And it scares the living shit out of them.

Unfortunately they won’t walk around the corner to see said justice. They’re too busy following their imagination.

It is my hope that soon and very soon what’s around the corner will be inescapable and their dreams will fade away.. into a car accident, and their insurance agent will be Black Jake From State Farm.

Or just somebody black period…

Writer of life, Actor, Host/Comedian, and Spoken Word Artist. The last great Atlanta native.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store