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An Open Letter To White YouTube Pranksters

By / 07.10.14

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Hey White people, come gather around, I have some very important advice I need to share with all of you en masse. This is potentially life-altering and life-saving. It’s actually pretty simple, so much so that I’m shocked it has to be mentioned at all.

White people – more specifically, the younger White males engaging in these senseless acts – please, for your own safety, stop going to “the hood” and messing with Black people, I don’t want one of you to end up dead.

For anyone not up to speed, here’s the jig: young white dudes, or otherwise non-Black and non-Latino people are wandering into ghettos across America, and antagonizing “urban” people for laughs and calling them “In the Hood!!!” pranks.

Under the guise of a prank, they engage only Black people and do dumb shit like take people’s phones as they’re using them to “check the time.”

Or pretending to take pictures of people just to piss them off.

Or how about these idiots pretending to be “Five-O in the HOOD.”

As the YouTube views go up, these idiots get even more daring. Take these imbeciles who decided it would be a good idea to pretend to sell guns “In the Hood!”

Then there’s this guy using “the n-word” to illicit a reaction.

Or this group that decided to literally pick fights with people, even going so far as to drop the N-word to incite a reaction.

I’m not sure if this is some weird racist humor that just doesn’t tickle my fancy. Maybe it’s some social experiment that uses racial tropes as its punchline and a means of instruction and enlightenment, or both lumped into one. I imagine a select group of White Americans react to these videos in a way similar to how Black guys react to magic. “OMG! That black dude was pissed! He broke his phone lulz!” or something along those lines, otherwise these videos probably wouldn’t keep being made.

There is some humor here, because I have to admit, like when some jackass keeps walking up to only Black folks and asking “you want to kiss my ass.” I finally laughed when he got knocked out, literally. Worst part is this goober thought it was funny too, and now he’s laughing to the tune of 1.7 million views worth of AdSense dollars.*

But what if I went into an affluent neighborhood, approached only White people and started attacking them like it was The Purge or something? Is this acceptable as long as it’s under the guise of a practical joke and called “In the Burbs!!” If I’m daring ornery old white guys into a fight, there’s a good chance that I may actually have to take a punch or two and this is probably true for brown, yellow, orange or purple people, too.

But that isn’t being acknowledged here, instead these reactions are being treated as “Black people reactions.” “Get a look at how these Black folks react to me doing funny stuff.” Nope, these are the reactions of anybody put into these ridiculous situations.

So again, bros, I beg of you, quit it. Stop with the “In the Hood!!!” pranks. Not only are they offensive and humorless, but I also don’t want one of you to get killed, maimed or injured. On top of that, I don’t want some unsuspecting prank victim to do 25 to life because you pretended you had a gun for sale, only to find out that he already had one and was willing to use it while unknowingly being on camera.

As a token of my appreciation I’m going to heed my own advice, and not bother or antagonize you to the point of violent response. We can all get along if we abide by the Golden Rule and use just the tiniest bits of common sense.

Update — It looks like I’m not the only one asking for change. Community activist in New York are now doing the same according to the Daily News:

“It’s gotten so brazen that community activists in Brownsville and East New York demanded Thursday that they cease and desist before they get killed — and called on YouTube to stop giving them a platform.

“This is juvenile ignorant behavior that borders racist overtones and truly can go really wrong at any given time thus causing harm not only to the victims but even more so to pranksters,” said community advocate Tony Herbert.”

One of these numbskulls responded by simply noting, “we’re just going to keep doing it,” and that’s his prerogative. But for the rest of you, there’s still hope.

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Ed. Note — The original piece used the general term “White people” when the people usually doing these videos are younger White dudes, as specified in the headline “White YouTube pranksters.” The original article has been edited to be more specific.

*The most viewed video on this channel? A video called “Black guy breaks into a car.” The prank in this video? A white guy tries to break into a car over and over uninterrupted. A black guy then attempts the same feat and is arrested within two minutes.


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