Subtitled: Mama don’t let your babies grow up to use youtube.
So in two separate cases this week, a pair of high school girls recorded and uploaded racist videos to youtube. It’s so confusing that some news articles are reporting on one school but linking the video from the other.
It’s just a repeat of the same old crap we’ve seen time and time again. Same formula. Somebody does something racist. They are then shocked by the response. Because they thought they were being clever and funny and all. Because for many people, “humor” depends on the disparagement and dehumanization of other groups.
This often happens despite the racist’s immersion in an environment where there are a number of people of color. Which blows that stupid “diverse environment” theory out of the water. Remember Alexandra Wallace, the ching-chonging college student who complained about Asians talking on cellphones in the library right after the tsunami in Japan? She attended UCLA, a/k/a University of Caucasians Lost among Asians.
The teens at Santaluces High School in Lantana, FL (which has the lovely “Chief” mascot) attend school with a 35 percent African American student body. Gainesville High School reportedly has a 32 percent African American student body, although the girls in the video say it’s 60 percent. (Some research indicates that white people routinely overestimate the number of people of color in their community.)
Also one of the Gainesville teens claims her best friend is black, although she says “he is practically white” and “hangs out with all white people.” One of the Santaluces students requests that their video not be posted to facebook, so their black friends won’t see it. (Are they really that dumb?) Black as exception. Black not like those other black people. Or, as the Gainesville student puts it “black people not n*ggers.”
I think the fact that white people feel free to express such racist sentiments despite being in a mixed environment is a testament to the strength of privilege. First, they did not even consider the potential reaction of people of color. They probably haven’t in the past, so why would they start now? Undoubtedly there’s a deep sense of security from knowing that power rests in white hands. Second, they assumed that everybody would share their viewpoint. They thought of these videos as “entertainment.” And the entertainment was aimed at a particular audience.
But when the reaction came, they acted shocked. Shocked because Asian Americans don’t like being ching-chonged. Who knew? Shocked because African Americans don’t like to be called n*ggers. Shocked because people other than Asian Americans and African Americans, maybe even white people with some power, were forced to respond.
Shocked even that they could be thought of as racist.
Wallace: “I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did.”
One of the teens from Gainesville High School: “I couldn’t believe it was myself that I was seeing. It seemed like another person. ” (Source.) Also, she is not a racist:
I understand how I sound in the video, but I’m not a racist person. I doubt anyone will believe that now but it’s true. I don’t see someone for their skin color only and hate them. I like to get to know everyone before passing judgment, but from now on I will just have to live with people’s preconceived notions of me, and I deserve that.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
And now the schools are reporting increased security. One of the Gainesville teens has “gone into hiding. ” Because safety is usually about the safety of white people. Gainesville High School reportedly brought in eight police officers to protect the offenders. Because you can never tell what those angry people of color might do.
While we can never take back the words and actions that these 2 children have said, we have to start to heal and forgive IMMEDIATELY. Stop the violent threats to our homes and our children, stop the anger, because this will solve absolutely nothing, and most importantly, look at yourself for change and love. Everyone, including all parents and teenagers, must put in their part to STOP racism, no matter what color your skin may be. We have to practice forgiveness. As the Bible says, ‘whoever among you is without sin, throw the first stone’.
Like with the Wallace case, there have been unsubstantiated, unattributed references to “death threats.”
Threats for sure. Threats to privilege. One can only hope.
Kenzie Bertelson and Carolyne Mesa