Annette Ejiofor: How Facebook videos define Black youth

Annette Ejiofor

Annette Ejiofor

By Annette Ejiofor, Associate Editor

We have all seen it. You might be scrolling through Facebook, or Tumblr, or Twitter, or Instagram, and you see it. A video of the most adorable young child doing young child things. Maybe the child just had their first steps, dancing to that song we all love, doing their hair, singing in the choir, pretending to be a priest, etc. I will propose a theory that watching our black young children, partaking in normal activities, and having those videos widely shared and admired, can help eliminate the stereotype and racial bias most have. I will propose that videos shared through social media of our black youth and adults, will make us less animalistic and more humans in the eyes of those subordinating us. The reason all boils down to representation.

We aim to be what we see if what we see is admired and uplifted. It is no hidden truth that to be white is the media’s universal definition of beauty. We see more white actors, actresses, and performers, showcased in a positive light, than we see people of colour, and especially black people. Why do we have such products as skin bleaching? We have black people doing all they can to not only act white, but to physically look white in the hopes of acceptance by white people and in essence, society as a whole. In showcasing our blackness, we are de-stigmatizing our people. We are showing that our children and our people, are not catty (as reality television shows would have us believe), and that we are human. We do normal day-day activities, just like white people.

Alternatively, we are also showing that we are different. Many people fear difference because we live in a culture where wars are used to settle those who are different from us. Patricia Monture-Angus was a Canadian Mohawk lawyer, activist, educator and author. In her book “Thunder In Her Soul,” she speaks of how important it is to celebrate our differences. We are not meant to assimilate into one culture or the next but to live collectively, embracing our various cultures, admiring the similarities and differences within them. Black and white culture vary. We have similarities, but we are not the same. The bottom line, the medium between our two circles, amongst others, is that we are both human beings, trying to live life, one day at a time. This is all that should matter.

Christmas is fast approaching and I ask that this Christmas, we live celebrating differences. Black people have had a rough, rough, tough, year. This Christmas I ask for our moment of peace. I ask for this moment all year round but especially as we gather with our loved ones and thank God (or whomever you religion pertains to) for keeping us together. We have lost many this year but we are still mighty in numbers and in our hearts.

So share that Facebook video. Let your friends see that we are just like them. Share the video even if it does not show we are just like them. Share that video that shows us in a negative light but make sure to add a quote saying that we are not what the media will have you believe and even if one black person makes a mistake, it does not speak to all of us. Black people are not generalizable. Black people are not animals. Black people are human beings born from Gods and Goddesses. We are not the same, but we are similar. It is time people understood.

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