‘Stuff people say’ videos don’t carry cruel intentions

Screen shot 2012-02-13 at 10.03.04 PMOlivier argues that there are negative stereotypes and then there are stereotypes that people should be able to laugh at.

There is a stereotype for everything. If you’re a doctor your handwriting is sloppy, if you’re a male athlete you’re promiscuous, if you’re a white female you abuse the word “like” and if you’re black your choice of drink is grape Kool-Aid.

We are all painfully aware of all of these silly stereotypes and have met someone who either fits or doesn’t fit the stereotypical mold provided. This consciousness allows us to watch television, read and even discuss these stereotypes and laugh at them.

So, now that YouTube users have followed suit in making their own “girls say” videos, why are some people getting offended? The series of “stuff people say” YouTube videos are supposed to be watched for entertainment purposes, and are not to be taken seriously.

A large majority of the videos like “stuff black guys say” or “Middle Eastern girls say” are played by someone of that race, but of the opposite sex. These videos are ways for men and women, who create the most stereotypes for each other, to playfully jab at each other.

In the “stuff black guys say” video, a group of girls imitate most likely guys they know, and their way of talking and behaving. They don’t necessarily represent all black guys, but maybe the friends they are trying to imitate, which appears to be the point in many of these videos.

There are some people who have taken offense to a number of videos including, “stuff white girls say to black girls.” In this video, the stereotypes are over-dramatic – like the others – and is acted out by a black girl wearing a blonde wig who is playing the “white girlfriend.”

In the video, the actress says things that white girls stereotypically say to their black friends like “holler,” “not to sound racist,” “ghetto,” “is that yours” (referring to their hair), and “why can you guys say the N-word, but we can’t?”

For many, her statements missed the mark. But to have developed these stereotypes and then make a video probably means that she has come in contact with a few friends or associates who behave in this manner.

I’m not agreeing with the depiction she made of white girls, but I am urging those who watch these videos to not take them seriously. If it doesn’t apply to you then there is no reason to get offended. We should be able to laugh at ourselves especially the farfetched, stereotyped versions.

On the other hand, attention and offense should be targeted at the “stuff republicans say about black people.” These were real politicians who made those statements on air. This compilation is offensive and sad to see that, still in 2012, an urge for equality is still layered with bigotry and layers of racism.

The difference of races targeted doesn’t shape the opinion, but the facts are that the stereotypes in the “stuff white girls say to black girls” don’t hold the same weight as the opinions of those who are supposed to represent us in office.

We try so hard to appear as individuals that we end up falling into some form of a stereotype anyway, so why not laugh at the ones that remind us of Cher from “Clueless” or Toni from “Girlfriends?”

Alexandra Olivier can be reached at alexandra.olivier@temple.edu.

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