Deliberation on YouTube: Racism

    The issue interests me is racism. The first video I found on the interactive community is “Racism in the Elevator”. It is one minute and 4 seconds long with 3,200,420 views and 37,521 comments. It shows a phenomenon that when a black guy enters an elevator, white women may be altered and hold their purse tight and step back. The black guy in this video said these white women thought by doing that, they were protecting themselves, but in actuality, they were provoking a savage attack. In the end, the guy yelled at the lady at a sudden, and he was satisfied that she was scared. Maybe the video is trying to make it fun; after all, YouTube is a site for entertainment. But racism in this clip not only refers to discriminations to black people. Even though the white lady may be a little overreacted, why he yelled at her and made it worse. Some blogger (pmzqabel) think the girl in the video is not being racist and she is doing the right thing. Black men are not trustworthy. They make up 13% of the population in the US and 80% of the prison population is black. I personally not agree with this but it stands for a lot of YouTubers’ opinion. As long as racism is mentioned, black people tend to be depicted as the victim. Why is it always a white person portrayed as the racism because it is not always the case (Rohirrum)? RoxyTG1 claimed that to be fair most women alone in an elevator would subconsciously grip their purse if any man of any color walked in. but as some bloggers said we would never know how racism hurts unless we are black ourselves.

    The second video is called “Racism at the Bus Stop” with 1,351,054 views and 6,374 comments. It was played by the same actor. In this video, a black man is accused by another black man for being less black because he is well-educated, speak English well, wear a suit and do not want the home-made black CD. What’s wrong for black people being well-educated, wearing a suit and being a professional in their work field? These stupid stereotypes thing may make the racism issue even more complicated. Some colored people make fun of Whites every day and call them “redneck” but as soon as white people doing the same thing. It rises to a serious racism issue. Say NO to double standard people (Inrange2010)! Even if the whole world were in the same color, we would still have excuses to be bias (SpiralDaze).

The discussion triggered by these two videos are not like what Hess talked about. Even though YouTube is more like a place for entertainment, bloggers would not discuss a serious topic in an opposite way.  The inflammatory feedbacks also embody the freedom of expression. If the ONDCP ads were put on other media, the public feedback probably would be the same.


September 4, 2010. Uncategorized.


  1. Mindy McAdams replied:

    Both of your videos are from the same producer. They even use the same actor. I like your choices, but it’s too easy to just choose two similar videos from the same source. Your analysis of the comments is overly simplistic when compared to Hess’s analysis, so I would respectfully ask you to apply more effort. For example, how many of the comments on these two videos are, in fact, very racist comments? Did anyone post a parody video? Did anyone post a videoblog comment?

    • Xuerui replied:

      Sorry Mindy, I did not mean to choose two videos playing by same actor but I really like these two and they depict racism from different angels. Well, it would not happen again in my future work. Here is my further understanding about these two videos. For the first one, there are roughly three sorts of comments, comments from black people blaming Whites being racists, comments from White people pointing out the fact that crime rate among black people is high, also there are comments from a neutral standpoint saying what happened in the elevator is not about racism, it just what a woman would react when a man enters the elevator. In the comments, the White group and Black group kept arguing who are more racist by telling what happened in their own life. And the topics go from racism to crime rate, education background and neighborhood environment. For the second video, there are not as many fury comments as the last one, probably because it was played by actors from the same race. The comments show the entertainment property of YouTube community. Most comments are like “I like this video”, “It is funny”. But some serious feedbacks were brought up. Some people even compare this video with the one in elevator. Most people left the comments believed that people were more likely to admit racist between the same race than different races.

  2. joneelauriel replied:

    I do agree that racism is a serious issue. I also to a certain degree agree with the statement that any woman regardless of race may be afraid when walking down a hallway alone or when a male enters an elevator. However, the comments of the sites and the pseudonyms listed by some of the YouTubers are appalling and don’t present a serious discussion on the topic of racism, how racism is perpetuated or how we can end it. While I do agree each person used their write to freedom of expression, I don’t feel these comments can be generalized to the comments of everyone regarding racism. Also, racism is more than a black/white issue. Finally, I’m confused with the reference of “Some colored people”?

    • Mindy McAdams replied:

      “… any woman regardless of race may be afraid when walking down a hallway alone or when a male enters an elevator.”

      I think the scariest thing in modern society is a group of young men — any race, any style of dress — if it is just them and one woman walking on a street at night. There is some kind of pack mentality that comes out in groups.

  3. tinamomo replied:

    Your video reminds me of the movie “crash”. It’s almost the same scene. Two black men walking towards a wealthy white couple. The wife grabbed her husband’s arm tighter when she saw them coming nearer. “crash” discusses this topic from various angles, the white angle, the black the angle, the Asian angle, the Arabian angle…So racism is a topic that you can speak from so many different angles. I think the people who made comments to the videos you selected are all subjective with their separate angles. Some of them you may find biased, some of them may be resonate with your own feeling, some may seem frivolous to you. The feeling varies on who read those comments. I think as long as a comment is posted, no matter how silly it may sound to some people, it contributes to the whole discourse. That’s the baseline. And also I don’t think YouTube is too entertaining for a serious topic, you could always find tons of great comments below every YouTube video.

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