RoQ Riffs!! Ya’ll good?!?! How is your week treating you? Regardless, it’s Friday. Good or bad, we’re through yet another business week. Going to go ahead and jump into the second installment of The 5th Element — which as you may or may not know is the oft-forgotten HipHop Element of Knowledge. As knowledge is bigger than HipHop on any level, Top40, Underground, Indie. Knowledge is the language of evolution. Last edition, we talked on that Ferguson, MO conflict. This time, we’re going to discuss something which has been on my mind for a minute..
These things :
They’re called “Hood Pranks” , and they have become somewhat of an internet sensation in the past couple months. The basic idea is for the actor and hidden cameraman to go into predominately black/latin urban areas in an attempt to bait residents into responding to specific gags. More often than not however, the pranks involve playing up false stereotypes and prejudiced generalizations to the amusement of the actor. Depending on the scenario, the punchline involves scaring, bewildering, antagonizing, or stumping the unaware pedestrian. As previously stated, the “targets” (victims) are almost virtually all black pedestrians; the actor being a white individual , in contrast. These sort of videos either purposely or inadvertently play up the same negative stereotypes and falsified, ignorant, sweeping generalizations reinforced by major media and culturally exploitive sources. Probably hundreds of these videos, totaling an accumulated millions of views and replays; all hateful, purposeful misrepresentations — broadcast to the amusement of an untold number of viewers across the digital spectrum… this is no worse than Worldstar’s black-on-black “hood fights”..
If you haven’t melted your brain cells searching through videos for your amusement and subsequent degraded intelligence, allow me to pull a few examples out from the evidence bag:
Here is the “Five-O Prank” , where the actor walks to random guys and attempts to obtain drugs, then pretends to be an undercover cop working a sting operation, chasing the alleged dealer away while jokingly commanding him to surrender. Things like this play up the false stereotype nonsense that most drug offenders are black, despite numbers pointing towards a more even race ratio (even Fmr Texas Sen. Paul speaks on this) and that’s without accounting racial profiling and disparity. What do we blame for this? The Reaganomics-Era “War On Drugs” propaganda which saw black youth portrayed as miscreant drug dealers — it’s contemporary is the music industry’s endorsement of drug-dealer-romanticizing/portraying artists as Top 40 demographical norm… i.e. —-> this crap. But uh.. here is is the infamous “Five-0” Prank..
Next we have something which seems to not be offensive at all… or not from a surface level. I’ll play it then explain what I’m talking about.
So , there is a general implication that you have to be pretty dim witted or highly superstitious to be astounded to the point of near hysteria (a la 0:36, 1:10, 1:23, 2:15) .. This plays on an olden-day bs stereotype about black folks being uneducated and susceptible to superstition. This is rooted in the same nation that believes in not breaking a mirror, or never walking under a ladder… or throwing salt over your shoulder.. right?
Secondly.. that is mostly filmed on the beach. Sir, that is not “Compton”. A congregation of black folks in a random area of Los Angeles is not “Compton”. Another ignorant, unverified generalization right before your own eyes. You’re seeing where I’m going with all of this, right?
It’s becoming more evident to you now, isn’t it? Only individuals from monocultural districts , who’s only exposure to other walks of life is via racist media, would assume that anything less than stark white and affluent is “the hood”. That would mean the suburbs could be considered “the hood”, too.. right? Because you can definitely find blacks and latins there, in large numbers.
What you’re watching are culturally disconnected bubble boys “slumming it”… and it’s SAD. We all tap into the same media matrix, what we take from it and how we reinterpret it is influenced by our day-to-day surroundings. The more personal interaction you have with other races, creeds, cultures, religions, sexual preferences, and general walks of life, the more you’re able to recognize the true social norms — the more likely you are to possess the skill set to know these behaviors are egregiously offensive, insensitive — and just downright ignorant..
Let’s move on to the next subject: Aggression. Another false stereotype of black males according to the prejudice, exploitive media corporations, is black males aren’t diplomatic in nature and are prone to violence. Since as far back as this continent can collectively remember, blacks have been described as “savages”, “brutes”, “violent tempered” ; we’ve literally been villianized since the first major movie release by the name of Birth of A Nation… when you click on the link, skip to 2:08:00 . Since. Day. One.
Flash forward to our current day, when the trend is to use youtube to depict the same negative imagery of an entire race and disseminate it to the masses — forced confrontation through subjective racism and antagonization. Roll video!
I think you’re getting the point. No need to continue drawing attention to these videos , despite this being a piece on why and how they are’t conductive to the growth of a harmonious society. I’m just tired of seeing these tasteless videos shared on Facebook — by people of ALL backgrounds. Tired of seeing p.o.c. in the emblematic role of the caged zoo animal antagonized by the spoiled child; because that’s exactly what it is: yuppie bubble boy bros grabbing their camera, hopping on the freeway to an area of town they’re told by peers to stay away from , to poke fun at the assumptive “lower class”. . under the euphemism of “social experiment”. Even going as far as to risk bodily injury through physical confrontation, just to film a gag reel. I’m sure you’ve seen the “You Want Beef?!” video, which was filmed in Phoenix, shame to admit.
I mean seriously, there is a whole subcategory for “Hood Pranks Gone Wrong”. It feels as if these individuals go into these places to instigate issues knowing full well that nothing too extreme could happen to them, based on the pigmentation of their skin –>
It’s a purposeful manipulation of the recent (hugely media fueled) racial tension caused by unfortunate events such as the unconstitutional Stop-And-Frisk Campaign, for example, and… you know.. the plethora of unarmed black men killed by bigot police. Even outside of that, imagine you.. Joe/Jane Schmo, is walking down the street and a random individual walks up asking if he could assault you..??
This is not to say all the people who do this are inherently racist, cross burning ignorant fools and aren’t just ill-informed products of corporate media.. because the latter shoe fits on feet from all walks of life. Without any real knowledge or day-to-day evidence of how folks conduct themselves, it’s hard to determine whether it’s blatant prejudice or just college-humor level nonsense. I will say that I’m tired of seeing an overwhelming number of trending prank videos involving people of color — From pranking to Antoine Dodson and Sweet Brown’s Jesus Nod . This includes Worldstar .. oh do I have some words for Worldstar. You’ll have to wait for that one. You think I’m bothered to the point of editorials with THIS??? I have another thing for that digital cesspool.
All in all, demographically-targeted humor, especially by those outside of that specific sect and especially of this calibre of ignorance, is hurtful behavior. Not just to that group, not just to that person, but the collective mindstate of society. Hopefully, as with trends of the past such as “planking” and the more recent “ice bucket challenge”, this will eventually fade into obscurity. Until it does though, I’d like you to take the time to ask yuorself what messages you are endorsing by clicking share..
Alright folks.. feel free to comment. I know for some people this may be a bit of an “uncomfortable” topic, considering the history of our nation. The thing about The Culture Is Back, is “equality of idea”; meaning, your articulated opinion will always be respected here. The RoQ Riffs consists of folks from different backgrounds; we are all equals, including myself and the staff. Share your thoughts but keep it educational, respectful, and informative.
Understanding one another is key!
Alright RoQ Riffs, until next time… The Culture Is Back!!
– RoQy TyRaiD