Sunday, March 25, 2007
Earlier today I was sitting at my desk at work checking email and came across a message to which a video was linked. The title of the email was “Too Much Beyonce: Parents am I the only one who sees this as inappropriate? I’ve seen so many videos on Youtube of sexualized school girls dancing to pop music that I was expecting to see a 12 year old grinding like a stripper to a Beyonce song. There was no 12 year old in booty shorts, in fact there were no booty shorts at all. Further there was no grinding, rump shaking, crotch grabbing or the like. How refreshing. What I read in the video comments however scared the hell out of me.
“I swear to god if i ever caught my 8 year old brother doing that shit i would kick his ass so hard...anybody that condones this foolishness is a fuckin moron and should have thier reproductive organs rip off and put in a blender”
“lol @ his to the left dance...I'd pickup one of those white chairs and knock his gay ass out”
WOW! So based on the fact that this child danced to and sang his adorable little heart out to a Beyonce song people on Youtube are now contemplating not only harming him but harming members of their own families should they ever dance to a Beyonce song while male.
The kinder of responses, while they seemed less violent, unjustifiably pathologized the child, his family, his environment and his life circumstances based on a 5 minute video clip. These responses insisted that the father is not in the home and that the child needs a male role model to teach him to act like a boy. The woman who sent me the video on the yahoogroup even suggested that there were better things that he could be doing with his time as if she has knowledge of his life and his entire life schedule and knows for a fact that all he does is dance all day and practice "Feminine" mannerisms, while other boys his age are spending there time at the much more useful and important endeavors that 5 year olds are obligated to spend their time doing. That is to say that somewhere between knapping, eating, peeing on themselves, throwing temper tantrums, and producing copious amounts of snot, they are solving complex equations, conducting life saving research, and bringing peace to the middle east and the hood. We know this because they act like boys and only acting like a boy can prepare one for these important endeavors.
After musing for a while and wondering how anyone could not see how perfectly natural it is for a small child to enjoy dancing and singing (duh!) and how oblivious said small child is to the fact that he had broken cultural mandates that would inspire such rage that people would demand that he be harmed, I thought about another video that had been circulating on Youtube. Another video on Youtube with a Black boy who is just as cute and also has a particular talent that one would not expect from someone of his age. I did a search for “Gimme My Money” and I found the video not yet flagged by Youtube users and still generating amused comments like:
“hahahahahahhaahah i watch this everyyyy day”
“THIS IS SOME FUNNY SHIT! HOW CAN I SAVE IT TO MY PC?”
I’m perplexed. I’m disturbed. I’m disgusted. I’m scared for every little Black boy growing up to be a member of our maligned tribe of outsiders.
On the one hand we have a video of a young boy enjoying himself, demonstrating his prodigious talent and confidence who is obviously happy and well cared for. He appears to be safe, is clean and healthy, and has people in his life that love him enough to celebrate his talent. On the other hand we have an angry young boy, who is alone enough that he not only has to go to the store by himself but when cheated by the stores proprietor is left alone to advocate for himself. Why isn’t his mother or father at the store with him? Further his profanity and threats of violence are socially unacceptable in most communities particularly when the user is a small child and the one being addressed is an adult. But it gets worse: Not only is this little boy a neglected potty mouth who does not know a proper respect for adults but he is a racist who more than once makes bigoted and prejudicial comments about the store proprietor who is Asian.
But black folks are in an uproar about which video? In all the time that the video of the young boy cursing and threatening the Japanese woman has been circulating I have not received a single email that has addressed this video as anything but hilarious. Not one among the dozens of people who have forwarded this video to me have said that this boy needs a spanking, needs more positive role models in his life, or bemoaned his comfort with violence and profanity at such a young age. Further I haven’t been able to read such sentiment on the Youtube comments.
What I have heard is that there is something wrong with a little black boy dancing like Beyonce. I’ve heard that he needs stronger role models, needs to be severely beaten, will deserve it when his peers harass and attack him and that he needs to be removed from his parents care because of the way he dances and the music that he likes.
Why is it so much more egregious to our people for a little boy to "act like a girl" than it is for a little boy to act like a violent idiot?