If you haven’t heard about the youtube phenomenon that started with “Shit Girls Say” and has been growing like online wildfire, you should probably get out from that rock you’ve been living under. Lately these videos have been getting a lot of heat for being offensive, racist, and reinforcing stereotypes while others commend them as “neo-social commentary”. I’ll admit the first time I saw “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”, I cracked up, I could relate! I’ve been that token black person who had to answer those questions soo many times, in fact I just had a conversation with a friend about if it was ok for her to say the n word when it comes up in a song this morning! On the other hand, if she hadn’t asked, she would never know how I felt on the subject and so I appreciate the fact that she cared. It’s hard to say where the line is between what’s funny and what’s offensive when you’re trying to joke about race relations or even inter-race relations. However, I think these videos do a great job of highlighting the use of racial micro-aggressions, a term most of us became familiar with after the hate crime on campus. Micro-aggresions are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of other races”. To be fair though, sometimes these comments aren’t meant to be offensive and are asked in earnest curiosity and are unintentional prejudiced. So maybe it’s better to ask uncomfortable questions than to keep making those small, convenient assumptions that only keep us at odds with others and create tension between races. It’s also important to remember that micro-aggressions don’t always involve race, they can also be about economic privilege, gender privilege, sexual privilege, educational privilege etc. Just check out: http://microaggressions.com/
On the flip side, I think it’s healthy to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes and remember not take yourself too seriously. When the girl in “Shit Black Girls Say” swings back and forth from “He is so stupid…I love him…I can’t stand him!” I mean how many of us have been there, or heard a friend complain endlessly about her man and then defend him viciously? Hahah or in “Shit Black Guys Say” when he’s lying, pretending to he didn’t get your text…but what are we to think about the reinforcement of the lazy, lying, cheating, black male? I know plenty of black men who talk like they had an education and carry themselves with pride and respect for themselves and others, and I know plenty who don’t. The line, “Who you gon believe, me or your own eyes?” had me dying though.
Hair politics is an extremely heated debate in the black community, as we’ve seen in one of our past BSU general meetings. For me, “Shit Relaxed Girls Say to Natural Hair Girls” really hit home, and while I definitely laughed at myself as I watched “Shit Natural Hair Girls Say” some of the lines from “Shit Relaxed Girls Say to Natural Hair Girls” struck a painful chord. Being offered hats or “favors” to straighten, relax, braid, texturize etc. my hair by my sister and friends is awkward and uncomfortable. Being asked, ” So you think you’re too good to straighten your hair?”, “When are you going to do something with that nap?”, ” Are you really going out like that?”, “What’re you gonna do with your hair for (insert special occasion)” and “Don’t you want a man?” is too real sometimes. In the end, I think that this Shit __ Say to ___ Youtube fad is funny and important, but I wonder where or if there is a line between joke and insult when you’re trying to be truthful and it just comes out being hurtful, or if that line is subjective…What do you think?