An open letter to the non-black guys who do “Hood Pranks”…
Dear young ambitious soul(s)…
I saw another of your pranks today. This time you went into the hood and said, “My neighbor” but in a way that sounded like “My nigger” to elicit a reaction from the unsuspecting bystanders that you encountered.
That’s what the video was supposed to show, right?
Well I hope that it is just like most reality tv, scripted, and played out according to previously informed and made aware participants. It is my sneaky suspicion that it’s not real. I want to believe that it’s all a rouse to get attention and to play on the vulnerable funny bones of Americas willing viral audience. I hope that it’s all made up.
But it’s probably not. You are probably really doing it. And it’s not really funny.
There are quite a few reasons why these pranks are way more dangerous than they are just innocent hidden-camera stunts that are engineered to provide content and credits for your burgeoning YouTube careers. I know that the views and clicks are bringing in good revenue dollars and probably anointing those of you who do it production and creative credibility that might soon or later translate into box office credential. I get that this is probably just for your résumé. I understand that at the end of the day it is all about business and you’re in the business of funny. I get that. I hope that I get that right. I hope that this is the case and you’re not, well, you know, just trying to hurt us by showing the inevitable, one of us hurting you.
I’ll give you a few reasons why you need to stop though:
1. Saying “Nigger” is not, nor will it ever be a joke. Playing up the stereotypes or demeaning habits of niggerdom is not a funny barb either. The word “Nigga” is not acceptable. Despite what any “nigga” tells you about how they’ve made “nigga” a term of endearment or a word that has been diluted of its conceived and concentrated origin. I don’t care how comfortable it may seem that some of Black America is with the use of the word “nigga”, they are not. It is not a comfortable word. It is not a good word. That word is a business. It is a business that keeps us out of business and there is no good business in it.
The word “nigga” or “nigger” is not and has not ever been a prank. That word represents the worst of what this country has done to a people. That word represents captivity and slavery, forced labour, rape, de-masculinization, degradation, torture, fear, ignorance, insecurity, hopelessness, distress, poverty, humiliation, among other things. None of it positive though. Please don’t let these “niggas” that make a living off of the word influence you to believe that that word is by any means okay to use. IT IS NOT! It is not a word to play with.
But you already know that. One of the big problems that I have with these pranks that go along these lines is that the people like yourself pulling them know that this language is very much hot-button. That’s why you use the terms and words with the people that you do. You know that it will illicit a reaction. You know they’ll get riled up. You know they’ll be ready to fight, or even worse. And you know that it’ll be good tv. Because you know that “niggas” have always been good tv.
That is wrong. Stop.
2. “Niggas” can’t retaliate. “Niggas” can’t get reciprocity. “Niggas” can’t do the same thing. Not in a way that would be funny. Period.
If a black man went into a Jewish neighborhood or an all-white suburb or into any other ethnically centered homestead, with a hidden camera trying to pull “pranks”, guess what, he’d probably be arrested. He’d be followed. He’d be under suspicion. He might be run down and killed.
Because that’s how “niggers” get treated here.
You see how liberally and unscathed you are able to walk those streets to play these pranks on those people? Yea, they can’t do that. They can’t walk to stores to buy skittles and iced tea in their own neighborhoods without being accosted by the skeptical eyes and ambitions of an assumed watch. Some of those brothers get gunned down. They can’t even wear hoodies without being labeled suspect. Their hair has become probable cause. They can’t ride trains and cause mischief like “everyone” else without being “accidentally” killed. They can’t stroll neighborhoods without being interrogated and questioned. They can’t “play” in those other neighborhoods because they’re not wanted there. They’re not accepted there.
You know those pranks you pulled that you filmed using your cellphone? Well, a few black people have been killed for pulling those out. Or their wallets. And trespassing would probably be used as a justification defense in the event something awful did happen.
3. You are going to get hurt. Unfortunately. Because them “niggaz” don’t play.
I hope it doesn’t come to that. I really hope it doesn’t come to that. You see, Sir, you’ve got your prank tv, them “niggaz” got WorldStar. And right now, they’re looking for content. The new trend is to capture violence and the hatred and ugliness as it happens and upload it to WorldStar. Some of the pranks that you’ve pulled are justification for some of these “niggas” to do something to you and well, you know how you scream out, “It’s a prank!”, well, I hope you get to that before one of these idiots gets to screaming out, “WorldStar!”. Because that’s the cue. That is what gets the cameras to rolling. And right now them “niggers” you’re making fun of have become obsessed with finding violence funny. And even though a great number of us despise everything that WorldStar is and stands for, there is a market for it. And it is doing very well. That mRket has been doing very well.
That’s all a part of what being called a “nigger” in the first place was about. Even though they think they’ve flipped it on its head, they haven’t. They’re playing right along into the scheme of what “Nigger” was supposed to do. They are buying into the market that was created on their backs to profit off of their backs and they’ve never turned away.
And you and your pranks are products in that market.
I would love to suggest that we boycott you and your pranks but that’s not feasible. The fact is that there is a market for our pain. There is a big market for our buffoonery. There is a big market for us being taken advantage of. I’d venture to suggest that in this country, some of the biggest markets are profitable because of us being taken advantage of.
So I figured I’d bring my concern to the seller and not try to convince the buyers that they’d be better off not buying into your brand of funny.
I wish it could be all fun and games. I wish that I could watch your pranks and not cringe at the uncomfortable sense of ignorance and foolishness that I believe floats right beneath your sense of humor. I wish I could laugh without feeling this sense of being taken advantage of. I feel taken advantage of. I see my people being taken advantage of. I see unfairness. I see the lingering and residual pain of slavery and racism wrought throughout your “joke”. I see grandiose and audacity that is blatantly callous and deliberate. I see a minstrel show. I see a circus act. I see “niggers” being put on to “perform”.
The crazy thing is that every time I’ve watched one of these pranks, I’ve waited to see if one of them “niggas” gets in your ass. I’ve maniacally tuned into for a “WorldStar” moment. Like, in the one prank that was done where you walked around asking if anyone “had beef”. I just knew that would find you on the business end of a KO that would go PrimeTime. I hate to see videos like that but there is a sense of retribution in that kind of violence. There is a sense of vindication and affirmation in that kind of violence. There is a sense of pride in “protecting” your people that comes with that brut kind of violence, in this time.
And these “niggers” are hungry for it! No joke.
Mr. Prankster, there is other material out there. In your neighborhood. Why not go there? Why not make fun of how your people were oppressed or forced into sub-standard conditions and beat? Why not make a mockery of your peoples impoverished situation? Why not play games with your own ethnicity in a manner that continues to degrade and defame their intellect? Why not call your people a name that is no joke, but make a joke of it? Why not do these things at the expense of your own? Why not make a dollar from that?
Because there is no market for it, huh? I understand. Or because it’s not funny. Or because no one will watch it. Or because you know that your people won’t upload your videos to WorldStar like my people do, huh? Yea, I understand.
So let’s go play with them “niggers”.
That’s not going to be funny that much longer.
The other day I saw a YouTube video where a cage full of lions were “performing” for this circus. It was going according to the trainers, or the masters plan. And then one lion, well, that lion singled out the one trainer and well, let’s just say that the lion had enough. And some of the other lions decided that they’d had enough as well.
I don’t speak lion. But I can decipher “caged”. And what “caged” is saying is very clear.
I am afraid that some of these “lions” have had enough as well. Especially of being “niggers”, “niggaz”, or “niggas”. It’s no joke out here. They’re just about tired of being baited. They’re about tired of being made fun of. They’re tired of being treated like that.
I hope you understand their sense of humor.