Tuesday, February 22, 2011

K-Pop Time and Youtube Racism

Haven't done a K-Pop post in awhile so I figured it was time! Here's a new video that I really like for several reasons. First, the singer is a cutie, the tune is upbeat and a little different than other K-pop songs, the video is Alice in Wonderlandesque and fun to watch, oh and the singer is a cutie.

But on a more serious note, I'm always shocked at how much racism can be seen in the comment trails of Youtube videos. And lately, there's been such an awful amount of Asian backlash. Comments like "Chinks are taking over Youtube!" "Stop watching Gay Gook Bands!" "Where's U R White Pride?" And this is the mild stuff. I can't possibly reiterate the awful stuff I've read. I wish to God I'd never read them in the first place. Why should I be shocked? I shouldn't be, right? And yet I am. The hatred is so ugly, so hateful, so appalling. And these people are anonymous. I don't know who they are! I feel like this bothers me even more.

Instead of becoming a more tolerant society, we've just become a society where it is becoming more and more unacceptable to be or act racist in public, so it drives the racists to the internet. It is in anonymity that the true racists can be their true selves. This scares me. Is my neighbor an anonymous racist? Is my doctor? Is my auto mechanic? Can you imagine working side by side with a colleague at the office - having a polite but distant work relationship. Never knowing that in the privacy of the internet he/she spews racial, sexual, religious, homophobic hatred.

While there's not a lot that can be done about these anonymous trolls, we can do something about their vitriolic comments. Instead of just spamming them, take a few extra minutes and report them to Youtube under their Help and Safety Tool page. Yes, it is a little more complicated than just clicking the spam button. But can you spare an extra few minutes to send a message that hate speech is not acceptable? We can't afford to ignore hate speech because if we ignore it, we essentially condone it.

And while I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, I do worry at times that the definition of "Hate Speech" can border on censorship. Spewing racist words is not necessarily hate speech, but when that same person incites others by asking "where their white pride is" and stating that all "gooks should be nuked" we've clearly crossed the line into "hate speech." And it's dangerous because this type of speech can galvanize the unhinged racist extremists. Ugly words of hate and violence that become a constant refrain can push extremists beyond speech and into real violence. We see and hear about this far too many times.

Sadly, racism is thriving on the internet. Whatever small steps we can take to combat this growing problem, I urge all of us to take.


Laura Riken said...

Urg, I just typed up a long response and then an error ate it. I'll paraphrase: They are trolls, try not to let them bother you because that's exactly what they want. In most cases I doubt they even really feel that way. Most videos have comments like that. youtube needs a better way to report them and get them off there imo.

Kelly Polark said...

One, that singer is fiiiine!
Two, I find that along with racist comments, there is such negativity in general on comments on youtube and other media that you can just click and anonymously (or not) comment at whim. Like "she's fat" or "fugly" or even meaner stuff. The internet, including youtube, is such a wonderful tool, it is unfortunate that some use it to spread negativity and racism. I would hope that in this day and age racists are fewer and far between, but they are obviously still present. I had no idea you could report such hate so thank you for that link!!!! So hopefully that will help a little.

PJD said...

What's troubling about the anonymity of the commenters is that (a) by choosing to be anonymous, they're indicating that they know what they're saying is wrong and hurtful, and (b) they're choosing to say it anyway.

Prejudice is, I believe, human nature. We are all conditioned in some way to make snap judgments about others. The way to overcome racism is for each of us to acknowledge the prejudices we hold and to fight them when they rise within us. It is unreasonable to expect people not to feel how they've been conditioned to feel (whether by nurture or nature is immaterial). What is not unreasonable is to expect them to live and act by the golden rule, and to strive to change their natural prejudices over time.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Laura - while I agree that trolls say this stuff to incite people, I do think that they believe in what they say. Otherwise how can such horrible hateful things be said?

Kelly - that is why the internet can be so dangerous in that way. People's meanness goes unchecked.

Pete - Beautifully said. I agree completely.

T.D. McFrost said...

I don't wanna talk about the racism on Youtube - I've seen too much awful comments. Instead, I'd like to say that I love the girl group Girl Generation. I love the song "Gee" and "Run Devil Run". My most favorite is Sooyoung. She looks so sexy with short hair. Damn!

Have you ever heard of Girl Generation, Ellen? If not, Google it and type "SNDS Gee" on Youtube. They sing in their native tongue, but I don't care, I just love the music!

p.s. People need to stop calling Asians "oriental" that is a terrible thing to say - it's in league with the "N" word -, but of course, no one knows this, 'cause all the world sees is black and white.

Tyhitia Green said...

Amen, Ellen. I agree. I report it all the time. And when someone has never experienced racism, they have no idea what it is like to bear the brunt of it. Racists couldn't take one iota of the hate they dish out.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Bisi and Tyhitia - isn't it terrible to see them at work? Sometimes I get such a sick feeling in my stomach and it actually depresses me. But we must go on and try to overcome.

Tyson - I can't believe you know Girl Generation! Yes they are great! And they are beautiful so I know why you like them! ;o)

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