walked to work looking really femme for the first time yesterday… makeup (bright pink lipstick, big cateyes) my hair up, and wearing a lot of jewelry. i looked pretty fucking good, ngl. but holy cow the street harassment was so much creepier than usual. a man asked me if i wanted to see “the magic show” (standing alone, selling cds that did not appear magical). then a crusty kid sitting with some friends asked me to come hang out (i think he called me earrings girl?) and then said “i have a puppy, you can come pet my puppy.” jesus fuck. i mean, i noticed a while ago that my more femme-presenting friends have many more examples of shitty catcalling and creepy comments than the rest, but i never expected the difference to be so immediately noticeable. there were a lot of people around when the crusty kid was yelling shit and i really wish i had stopped and put him on the fucking spot. like a. okay asshole you are talking to me as if i am a child and you have a dirty white van around the corner just fucking waiting. is that supposed to be attractive? what is your fucking problem with women that you feel like a random woman on the street should be infantilized and sexualized unwillingly by your sorry ass? YOU and other douchebags like you are the reason why, even though i have dreamed of jumping on traincars since i was a kid, i will never go near the crustpunk lifestyle - because it’s attractive and convenient to shifty rapist motherfuckers who will take advantage of a woman’s lack of shelter and/or trust - people who think they unlearned capitalism but haven’t even begun unpacking their misogyny. you are an asshole and you make spaces unsafe and you are a terrible human and if you really did have a puppy (i didn’t look) i hope it bites you and runs away and becomes a woman’s trusty guard dog because FUCK YOU.
i didn’t say any of that, though. i just did my stupid automatic nervous laugh thing. i would like to earnestly thank the man standing across the way who yelled at him for me, though. i appreciated you so much, stranger. thanks for existing and calling people out.
The troubling viral trend of the “hilarious” Black poor person
May 7, 2013
Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue three Cleveland women presumed dead after going missing a decade ago, has become an instant Internet meme. It’s hardly surprising—the interviews he gave yesterday provide plenty of fodder for a viral video, including memorable soundbites (“I was eatin’ my McDonald’s”) and lots of enthusiastic gestures. But as Miles Klee and Connor Simpson have noted, Ramsey’s heroism is quickly being overshadowed by the public’s desire to laugh at and autotune his story, and that’s a shame. Ramsey has become the latest in a fairly recent trend of “hilarious” black neighbors, unwitting Internet celebrities whose appeal seems rooted in a “colorful” style that is always immediately recognizable as poor or working-class.
Before Ramsey, there was Antoine Dodson, who saved his younger sister from an intruder, only to wind up famous for his flamboyant recounting of the story to a reporter. Since Dodson’s rise to fame, there have been others: Sweet Brown, a woman who barely escaped her apartment complex during a fire last year, and Michelle Clarke, who couldn’t fathom the hailstorm that rained down in her hometown of Houston, and in turn became “the next Sweet Brown.”
Granted, the buzzworthy tactic of reporters interviewing the most loquacious witnesses to a crime or other event is nothing new, and YouTube has countless examples of people of all ethnicities saying ridiculous things. One woman, for instance, saw fit to casually mention her breasts while discussing a local accident, while another man described a car crash with theatrical flair. Earlier this year, a “hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” named Kai matched Dodson’s fame with his astonishing account of rescuing a woman from a racist attacker. But none of those people have been subjected to quite the same level of derisive memeification as Brown, Clark, and now, perhaps, Ramsey—the inescapable echoes of “Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife!” and “Kabooyaw,” the tens of millions of YouTube hits and cameos in other viral videos, even commercials.
It’s difficult to watch these videos and not sense that their popularity has something to do with a persistent, if unconscious, desire to see black people perform. Even before the genuinely heroic Ramsey came along, some viewers had expressed concern that the laughter directed at people like Sweet Brown plays into the most basic stereotyping of blacks as simple-minded ramblers living in the “ghetto,” socially out of step with the rest of educated America. Black or white, seeing Clark and Dodson merely as funny instances of random poor people talking nonsense is disrespectful at best. And shushing away the question of race seems like wishful thinking.
Ramsey is particularly striking in this regard, since, for a moment at least, he put the issue of race front and center himself. Describing the rescue of Amanda Berry and her fellow captives, he says, “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway!”
The candid statement seems to catch the reporter off guard; he ends the interview shortly afterward. And it’s notable that among the many memorable things Ramsey said on camera, this one has gotten less meme-attention than most. Those who are simply having fun with the footage of Ramsey might pause for a second to actually listen to the man. He clearly knows a thing or two about the way racism prevents us from seeing each other as people.
Now that you know this is a thing, please stop sharing these memes. Poor Black people speaking candidly about various serious incidents isn’t a hilarious joke.
"If someone has something negative to say about the way you look, breathe. Breathe and remind yourself that it isn’t your job to be visually appealing. Remind yourself that when someone makes a judgement, it is very rarely about you and almost entirely about them and their own insecurities and limitations. Breathe, again and again, and know that beauty isn’t something you owe the world. It isn’t a price you pay for taking up space. It isn’t some compensation for the mistakes you’ve made or the faults other people believe you bear. And it isn’t something other people get to define for you. Breathe and know that you are on this earth for so much more. Know that your worth has never been and will never be tied to the way you look. Breathe and know that you don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to feel good enough. You are important and you matter, regardless of your appearance, and if someone fails to recognize that, it’s their problem, not yours."
Daniell Koepke (via internal-acceptance-movement)
Only in America: Black boy found beaten to death in a rolled up gym mat, but “no foul play suspected”.
welcome to fucking america
Oh, this must be black privilege
HIS PARENTS WERE ARRESTED FOR PROTESTING!
of fucking course this is in GA.
Offered in New York City Friday - Saturday nights 12AM-4AM. If you or a friend need a safe ride, please call! Save this number and spread the word! What a wonderful organization
This sounds like a really great resource!
Next time I’m in NYC I’m having this info on me just in case!
This is a cool as heck thing being done.
as a new yorker i didn’t know this existed. thank you! spreading this to my friends.