So I was minding my business yesterday, in my own little world, thinking about random stuff (like my birthday coming up next weekend). Until my sister Erin texted me a link to a BuzzFeed video and I got excited. I love BuzzFeed videos. Especially since I went to school with like, 90% of the Black people who work there. But before I could click on it, I received another text from Erin saying she didn’t like the video. At all. My BuzzFeed buzz died instantly.
Hesitantly, I click on the link. It takes me to a video titled, “27 Questions Black People Have for Other Black People.” I watch the video. Two minutes and 47 seconds later, the video ends. I stare blankly at the screen for another 30 seconds. I refresh the video, refusing to believe what I just watched. So I watch it again for a second time to prove myself wrong. Yep, it was all real. A group of Black millennials who work for Buzzfeed seemingly perpetuating a bunch of negative Black stereotypes on camera. And after hearing those 27 questions, the only question I had was, “WHY????”
The thing is, I see what they were trying to do here. They were trying — keyword, trying — to bring awareness to certain issues in the Black community by asking a series of questions that I’m guessing were meant to be thought-provoking. A racial/cultural self-assessment, if you will. With that being said, my issue here was not with the concept of the video — it was the content. The execution. The promotion and perpetuation of negative Black stereotypes. To me, the entire video came off like they rounded up a group of Black folk to recite a bunch of questions that a group of White folk submitted for them to read on their behalf. And I’m actually hoping that’s the case. Because that would put A LOT of things into perspective here.
What’s disappointing is the fact that pretty much all the questions they asked were actually answerable. So answerable that you didn’t even need to ask Google. And what’s more disappointing is the fact that this could’ve actually been a really good video if they had simply asked some better, well-thought-out, non-Uncle Tomish questions. Not ish like, “If my dab is on fleek, am I lit?” or “Why are we more likely to engage in a new dance trend than we are to get involved in politics or opening a business?” or “How did watermelon become our thing?” Huh????? How are any of these questions proactive, thought-provoking or progressive?? HOW, SWAY?? I’ll wait.
Yes, there are a lot of deep-rooted issues within the Black community that need to be addressed and discussed, and I agree that there are many questions that we should ask ourselves and one another — just not the ones in that video. Which is why I’ve decided to help BuzzFeed out by creating “27 Questions the Black People in that BuzzFeed Video Should’ve Asked.” I’ve listed them below:
- How can we ultimately reduce/eliminate the violence in Black communities nationwide?
- Why are our physical features so hated, yet so culturally appropriated? (This is a rhetorical question meant solely for shade purposes.)
- What are some effective ways can we encourage our youth, namely our Black boys, to succeed in a society that is designed for them to fail?
- How can we revive and restore the Black family?
- How can we become more educated and involved in local, state and federal politics to ensure our voices are heard and justice is served for our people?
- (5b) Speaking of politics, are you voting?
- Why does Black Twitter have no chill?
- Has anyone figured out where our grandmas be getting those random lil strawberry candies from? (Serious question)
- What steps can we take to improve our public school systems?
- Who is Boo Boo Da Fool? (Serious question)
- How are we so loving and accepting of other races and yet our race is the most hated?
- How is it that a dollar circulates for approximately a month in the Asian community, 20 days in the Jewish community, 17 days in the white community, and only SIX HOURS in the Black community?
- (12b) How can we become more educated on building, managing and sustaining wealth in the Black community?
- How is it that we have over a trillion dollars worth of buying power and are still lacking?
- How can we support more black-owned businesses?
- Have you ever hesitated checking off “Black” on a job application because you were afraid it would rid you of a fair chance?
- Why do some of our people have a tendency to become “sell outs” once they reach a certain level of success?
- Speaking of sell-outs, did we trade Stacey Dash yet?
- (18b) If so, who took her spot? (I hope it’s Elsa from Frozen. That’s my girl.)
- How can we bridge the gap between upper and lower-class Black folk so that we can all succeed and thrive?
- When are we gonna stop letting non-melanin folk get under our skin so much?
- And why do so many of us feel the need to be accepted by said non-melanin folk?
- How can we increase the awareness and discussion around mental illness in the Black community?
- Why are we so frigging beautiful? (No but seriously.)
- How did our ancestors survive three whole entire centuries of slavery?
- Isn’t it amazing how we can legit be any color on the spectrum and STILL be Black?
- How can we, as a people, make sure that something like this BuzzFeed video never EVER happens again?
Black people at BuzzFeed, I love y’all. And from one Black person to another, just take this as constructive criticism and do better next time.