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Why Buzzfeed's 'Black People's Questions for Black People' is so offensive

Crystal Lewis Brown


Causes & Culture

Crystal Lewis Brown is a parent of two boys, a wife and lifelong writer. She is also SheKnows' director of editorial operations. You can also follow her on twitter at @c_lewisbrown

Buzzfeed's 'Questions for Black People' was a disappointing dive into stereotypes

Welp! It's finally happened. Buzzfeed produced a video so epically awful that, although it went viral, it also spawned the hatred of collective black voices across the interwebs. As Damon from Very Smart Brothas put it,"It’s like they rounded up the best and brightest of the snowflake millennial Blacks — the ones who believe they’re shunned by other Black people for “talking White” and that they’re the only Black people on Earth who happen to like anime and Sara Bareilles — filled them with peanuts and Ciroc, turned the camera on, and said “Go!"

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If you're still scratching your head wondering what was so awful about it, my husband summed it up with a more appropriate title: "27 Ignorant Questions Non-Black People Have For Black People But Are Not Comfortable Asking."

The entire video is nearly three minutes of black people recounting trope stereotypes about other black people. Which is to say, it is incredibly ignorant and actually offensive on so many levels. I felt personally attacked, violated even. The video seemed to perpetuate an "us vs. them" mentality, except in this case the "them" is "us."

A few of the most appalling gems:

“Do you really believe that black is beautiful or is that just something you say because it sounds good?”

“Why is being educated considered a white thing?” 

"Why is it so hard to be on time?"

"Why is growing up without a father so common in our race."

It made me wonder — what other black people do they know? Who is doing all of these things? Do they really believe this to be true? I mean, they can't, can they?

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I wasn't the only one completely put off by the video. Twitter essentially blew up.

While I can understand the sentiment behind the video — we are not a monolith, we are all different, we are all unique — it fell flat. This question asked in the video sums it up perfectly: "Why can't we just acknowledge that there are a bunch of different types of black people walking around and they are all amazing and unique and special in their own way?" But I was already so offended, so hurt, that I had to watch the video twice to let that sink in.

This was a fail on Buzzfeed's part, plain and simple, and I hope that their audience doesn't use this as an excuse to continue to perpetuate black stereotypes with a "see even they think that way" mentality.

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