This is Not Your Childhood Coloring Book

This is a photo from the Netflix series, Dear White People, depicting white students in blackface, makeup used by non-black people to portray a black “character”.

In Sarah Roberts’ chapter, “Commercial Content Moderation: Digital Laborers’ Dirty Work”, one thing that stuck out to me was when she discussed Antoine Dodson. Dodson appeared on the local news and was later made into a remixed YouTube video. Dodson was financially reimbursed later, but this brings back the question we were discussing in class on where does content come from. Originally Dodson was discussing how a man was attempting to rape his sister and somehow, a few white males thought it would be hilarious to turn Dodson into a joke without his initial consent. I wonder, had there been no financial reimbursement, if Dodson would have still consented to the video?

In another previous discussion, we talked about how when a person is financially unstable, they would do almost anything for a little extra cash. Did Dodson know that allowing this one video to stay posted would lead to the enforcement of black stereotypes?

I want to know why white people suddenly found it okay to wear Halloween costumes mimicking Dodson, complete with blackface? How would you feel if who you were was mocked? If you say you would feel nothing, congratulations, you are privileged. In the series, Dear White People, the main character makes the claim that “when you mock or belittle us, you enforce an existing system. Cops everywhere staring down the barrel of a gun at a black man don’t see a human being. They see a caricature, a thug, a nigger.”

Let those words resonate with you. Dodson did give permission to become “internet famous”, but I doubt that he was expecting such racist and ignorant acts to occur afterwards. Originally, Dodson was even telling a rape story, so not only are we normalizing the degradation of black people, but also normalizing rape culture. When you laugh at another person’s oppression, you should take a step back and analyze why. What events have happened throughout history to lead up to this point? You might think that this is just something minor, but as Dodson’s story has shown us, one act of “harmless” humor, can spiral into a way worse scenario.

Just some food for thought,

Stir Fry