For too long, African Americans have been misrepresented in all forms of media.
Most of the time, it is to no fault of our own. Still, too often we are the very reason for such misconceptions. Instead of working on trying to change the stereotypical image that plagues us all, we entertain it. How can we expect to be taken seriously or represented accordingly by others if we don’t take ourselves seriously?
Antoine Dodson, an African-American Huntsville, AL native, was recently interviewed by NBC affiliate WAFF-48 News after his sister was almost assaulted and raped in their home by an intruder. What started off as a normal news story eventually turned into something like a performance of a comedic monologue.
Dodson went on rambling about how “dumb” the intruder was for leaving evidence behind and how he didn’t need to turn himself in because they were going to find him. Let us not forget the warning he put out about everyone needing to “hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband, ‘cause they’re raping everybody out here.” The video became extremely viral after the interview was turned into an auto tune song created by a few geniuses’ from Auto-Tune the News.
I’ll be the first to admit that I laughed. I immediately shared the video on Facebook and made sure to show anyone who was near me. What can I say? The song is Catchy — so much, that many have turned it into a ring tone. Dodson became the next big Internet star and he’s definitely milking it for all its worth. Not only does he now have his own website and merchandise, he has a Pay Pal account so we can all help his family get out of the projects.
I’m not knocking the man’s hustle, but he is benefiting from his sisters attempted rape incident. Or did we all forget that even happened? I sure did. I was too busy singing “hide your kids, hide your wife” to even remember why he was giving the interview.
I don’t like to be defined by a group I am a part of, but that is how the world works. It may not be what we want, but Antoine Dodson is a representation of African Americans as a whole. As we laughed at him, everyone else laughed at us.
Twitter has become another source of media that seems to be an element of this unfortunate distortion that we continue to put upon ourselves. Every week, you can almost guarantee that there will be a trending topic on Twitter that directly speaks to and about black people. According to Edison Research’s annual report on Twitter, African Americans represent 25% of Twitter users. Many, if not most, of the popular trending topics are associated with black people. Such as “Black Ghetto Names” or “If Santa Were Black”. As we participate in these trending topics we only encourage the stereotypes that we should be trying to avoid.
We may start them, but black people aren’t the only ones participating in these popular trending topics. We can laugh at and with each other, about each other, but when someone who doesn’t look like us participates it’s quite offensive. That’s obvious.
It comes down to the whole “I can talk about my family, but you can’t” situation. It makes it easier and comfortable for others to talk about and laugh at us if we’re doing it