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To Err is Human. To Judge is Ego; The Sensationalism of Viral Videos

April 4, 2016


To err is human. This is a fundamental truth of human nature. This fact is also the folly of mankind. It was once thought that our mistakes only affected ourselves and those in immediate junction to us, but as time progresses and our world shrinks through the advent of our global communication network we are witnessing how our errs unfairly affect each other and ourselves on a much larger and broader scale. A few days ago a video popped up in my news feed on Facebook. An African-American woman was recorded accosting a white male with dreads. As of Friday, the barely one-minute long video has reached an astounding 3 million hits while hundreds of comments ranging from the abhorrently racist to the civil and engaging had been made.


In the video viewers watch as the person being accosted attempts to walk away while this woman berates him and grabs him insisting his hair choice is cultural appropriation that takes from her culture. She ostensibly bully’s him as he attempts to walk away and the video ends with her asking the recorder why he is taping the situation to which he replies “for everyone’s safety.” Almost on cue the woman grabs at the camera and the video ends.

This video has triggered multiple emotions within me as it has for most of the viewers who have watched it. Everyone with a keyboard seems to have expressed an opinion over it on some platform of social media. Initially, I was stunned and disgusted at the woman’s actions as her harassment seemed completely unwarranted. The hot topic foaming on the lips of many in the past few years online has been “cultural appropriation” and “micro aggression” and this video exemplified how this woman obviously frequented these words in her daily conversations. Her incessant desire to shame this white male in dreads felt overindulgent and unjustified considering the history of dreadlocks in themselves has never limited itself to one culture or group of people.

While her own ignorance unfortunately sparked a regrettable situation, there are always two sides to every story. Let us all never forget that. Quite soon after the video spilled out from under social media shares into national headline news tag-lines, tweets and screen shots circulated absolving the woman’s actions instead pointing the finger at the deadlocked man himself for supposedly calling her a “bitch” and putting his hands on her before the filming began. This essential bit of information missing from the story has resulted in the scale of blame once again left unbalanced on the side of the minority, a Black female.

Read the rest of this article over at Medium. 

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