pranksgonewrong

I see the videos routinely shared on Facebook, and usually I just ignore them. The reason I ignore them is because the videos are arranged so that the “actor” has a high probability of being assaulted: these people go into the hood to act like idiot assholes with the intention of getting hit. As a friend who put them on at his place yesterday said: they’re getting paid to get hit in the face.

So, as my friend asked, what’s wrong with them getting hit in the face for money? Doesn’t everybody win? No, not everybody wins. The people who are getting harassed on the street, the women who simply leave after he asks them if they want to help him “bust a nut,” the people whose pants he tries to pull up: they are not winning anything. They are being harassed.

I picked two videos to demonstrate what I mean… but these actually have a subtext. There are a lot more that don’t have any joke behind it, and I didn’t want to provide any hits to those on the even more tasteless side of the spectrum.

To put this in clearer terms: economically well-off white people go into poorer black neighborhoods with the intention of acting disrespectful towards people and hopefully getting a few good hits to the face for the viewers. The are technically harassing the citizens of those neighborhoods for profit. They not only wriling people up for literally no reason other than personal gain, but they are perpetuating negative white stereotypes in neighborhoods that don’t need that.

Some people don’t understand why the people get mad in these videos, but the creators are literally counting on this. They pick neighborhoods where there is enough crime that people are on edge, and where respect can be a commodity that determines¬†whether people see you as a target or not.

The creators of the videos play on this: they disrespect these people in public, aware that in many cases they feel the need to violently defend their honor and punish this “stupid white kid” for being so disrespectful. Everyone watching secretly agrees that the kid is being disrespectful and stupid, so they laugh and are happy when he gets hit in the face. Except, that kid is getting paid for his hits in the face. The people he is disrespecting seem to get the really short straw: they get wriled up and are portrayed as “irrationally angry black people” in the videos.

Everybody except the people making these videos are losing. As I was being shown it again yesterday, I couldn’t help but think that they were setting race-relations in those neighborhoods back 10+ years. So, why are so many people sharing videos that, in reality, support negative stereotypes about both blacks and whites…. for profit? Well, because most people don’t think about it long enough to realize that these guys deliberately create situations where there is a high probability of violence.

Do you really think these people would make SO many videos, 5 minute strings of them getting hit and threatened, by accident?¬†If this was the exception, why is it the vast majority of content in the vast majority of these videos? Is this really something we want to support, in any way? Shouldn’t we be working to battle racial stereotypes, instead of reinforcing them?