A video found on Buzzfeed’s website has a lot of black folks shaking their heads. The video was about black people asking questions about why black people do certain things. Fellow blogger Abagond has the complete list of questions. There are 27 in all. And all of them were drenched in stereotypical thinking as if they are things all blacks do. None of the questions have any substance or ask for any critical view.
I haven’t seen the video, nor do I plan on watching it. So, this I won’t be critiquing it. The news site has apologized for the video. But the damage was done. Or I should say, the damage continues yet again.
Black people are pissed. Black people are angry. But one thing black people can’t or shouldn’t be is surprised. The video is just another addition in a long, continuous tradition of using black stereotypes to entertain or inform the general audience. Most of the time, there are white people behind the scenes who think such ideas are good enough to be produced and that the people who approve are mostly white themselves. And I use the words ‘most’ and ‘mostly’, because there are black folks who would jump on such ideas without a shadow of a thought.
Even though it’s expected or suspected that the people behind such forms of media are white, a painful fact remains that there are black people who gladly participate in shaming black people. Brothas and sistas who appear on trash talk shows, reality TV shows and internet videos such as the one released by Buzzfeed made a choice to grab their 15 minutes of fame by giving the black community a lifetime of shame.
What’s even more fucked up is that there are black folks who only consume such garbage. Their steady diet consists of programs like any reality TV program on Bravo and VH1 featuring black people, The First 48, Maury and World Star Hip Hop videos of black people fighting each other.
Selling out is a human trait, but with black people, it’s a special case. We were forced into accepting the lies about our inferiority. We were literally beaten into submitting to white power while accepting their prejudices in order to survive. To this day, some brothas and sistas do not have the heart, awareness or pride to reject racism’s machinations against them. As such, more programming showcasing black stereotypes will keep coming.
Sometimes, black people don’t have to willingly participate in order to make fools out of themselves. Somewhere in America, a black person did something wrong. It will be reported and/or recorded for the public to see. In this society, if a black person fucks up, it must be told and told as often as possible.
Don’t expect much of the white-owned media to display a positive balance to their negative projects when it comes to the black community. If it does, it will most likely be concerned with black people on the field, on the court or behind the mic. But don’t expect too much of that though.
Buzzfeed was, up until now, seen as the exception, but it failed miserably with their video. Even though the fire has subsided a little, somewhere in the media landscape, someone will approve something else that will humiliate black folks. And it will gain some considerable undeserved attention.