Featured, Race & Politics

The Worst Part Of Buzzfeed’s Shockingly Self-Loathing “27 Questions Black People Have For Black People”

It’s been a little over 12 hours since I first saw Buzzfeed’s “27 Questions Black People Have For Black People.” It was shared on the timelines of quite a few of my friends yesterday afternoon, but I didn’t get a chance to actually watch it until last night. And still, 12 hours later, I’m shocked by how bad it is.

Part of this shock is due to the fact that, before this video, the race-related content I’ve seen from Buzzfeed hasn’t been this bad. It’s actually been quite good. Granted, Buzzfeed is a behemoth, and it wouldn’t be a leap to presume they’ve published problematic content I just haven’t seen or heard about. Also, I’m speaking specifically about Black stuff. I can’t comment on the quality of their Latino or Asian or Native American related content because I haven’t seen any of it. And I’m not as well-versed in those cultures to be able to immediately identify something as tone deaf. But again, the Black-related content I’ve seen from them has generally worked. The listicles and first-person pieces are typically nuanced and funny, the reportage is thoughtful and delicate, their HBCU series last year was outstanding, and although I’m not into podcasts, I know Another Round does amazing work.

But mostly, I’m shocked by the level of GFA (Gotdamn Fucking Awful) this was. It was so abjectly GFA that I watched a second time to verify how GFA it happened to be, and a third time just to make sure there wasn’t any satire I missed. Like maybe this was one of those meta jokes within a jokes about the type of Black people who think and say shit like this. But it wasn’t that. It was a video curation of every space on the self-loathing Black person bingo card.

Wait, did you call out “Why don’t Black people care about Black-on-Black crime?

Yes!

And “Why don’t Black people support each other?

Yup!

And “Why is natural hair seen as a bad thing?

Yup!

And “Why is doing well in school frowned upon by other Black people?

Yes!

And “Why do we get mad when White people say nigga?

Yup!

And “Why don’t Black kids have dads?

Yup!

Bingo!!!

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!” It should have been titled “27 Questions Black People Who Don’t Like Black People Have For Black People.” Or “27 Questions White People Believe “Smart” Black People Should Ask Other Black People.”

(Also, you know sometimes you’ll read a summary that seems so thorough you don’t need to watch the video it summarized? Well, this isn’t one of those times. If you haven’t yet, you need to watch this video to fully appreciate how Gotdamn Fucking Awful it was.)

And that this was created by and published on Buzzfeed shifts its existence and possible impact from merely problematic to actually dangerous. It’s already been seen by over a million people and will likely be seen by millions more. And forget about any hand-wringing about the White people who’ve seen this, because I don’t give a fuck about them. (To clarify, I do give a fuck about White people, as humans and shit. Hi White people reading this!!! I just don’t give any about their feelings about this video.)

But how many of those millions are young Blacks who already believe these logical and emotional fallacies about Black culture and will use this as proof their beliefs are right? And yes, it is dangerous for a Black person in 2016 — as it was in 1916 and will be in 2116 — to possess that thought; to convince themselves that Black culture is somehow specifically malignant. Because that belief doesn’t just stop there. It permeates their general beliefs about Black people and eventually metastasizes into a subconscious and pervasive self-loathing. If you believe Blackness possesses an inherent pathology, this belief is either an extension of your feelings on the Blackness you currently possess or will eventually extend to it.

Also, it actually makes me sad that there are so many seemingly smart and witty and successful Black people so firmly ensconced in anti-Blackness. People either hurt so badly they’ve internalized everything negative they’ve seen about Black people or in possession of such a jaundiced view of Black culture that they feel the need to distance themselves from it. (Or both.) I already knew they existed, but I don’t know. Watching this was like peeking into a hot dog factory. You already know they use all types of pig toenails and pigeon beaks to make them, but actually seeing it happen with your own eyes turns your stomach. It’s fucking depressing, man.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • I’m so over white folks trying to find dumb ni66as to agree with them.

    and these dummies fall for the banana in the tailpipe ERR TIME.

  • and first, heaux!! lol

  • Shy Glizzy’s Twin

    Shucking and jiving always shows up in many forms.

  • Lisa Necole

    It made all the hairs on my neck stand up – It felt like all the comments my drunk, misinformed uncle ,who thinks the earth is flat, would profess at thanksgiving dinner…starting each point with “ya see thats whats wrong with black folks” and ending with “yall betta listen to me”

    • Brandon Perry

      The funny part about this whole outrage is that when white people were annoyed with the “White People Ask White People” video, they were dismissed as not wanting to “acknowledge their racism…” Right. K.

  • HappyBirthday Malik

    • -h.h.h.-

      feliz Aniversário

    • HeyBooHey

      It’s LikLik’s birthday?!? Have a happy one! *throws confetti*

    • May you have a pleasant anniversary of uterine egression, Malik!

      • brothaskeeper

        *adds “uterine egression” to regular vocab*

        Happy bornday!

    • Ess Tee

      Feliz cumpleeeee, papi! Que la pases bien!

    • miss t-lee

      Happy Birthday.

    • Lea Thrace

      Happy Birthday young buck!

    • Happy birthday, young Padawan!

    • PhlyyPhree

      Happy birthday darlin!

      • Get them squats for my birthday gift

    • Tambra

      Happy Birthday….

      • Why the ellipses??

        • Tambra

          More to come.

    • Val
      • Thank you my love

    • MsSula

      Happy Birthday Malik!!! May you have a glorious birthday filled with beautiful things.

      • Thank you beautiful sister

    • Happy birthday!

    • Oluseyi

      Happy birthday, Malik!

    • Cleojonz

      Happy Birthday Malik!

    • Keisha

      Happy Birthday Malik!!! Hope you have an amazing day! :-)

      • Thank you Ms Keisha!

    • Agatha Guilluame

      Happy birthday honey!

    • Breezy

      Happy Birthday Lik Lik!!!!

  • HeyBooHey

    So that video was serious?? I took it as a satirical look at various topics people constantly bring up on Facebook.

    • miss t-lee

      Girl they were deadazz.

  • Jessica

    Special Snowflake Black People. I remember when I used to be this. Ahh to be young and ignorant again….

    • Skegeeaces

      Same here. Key words “used to”, but in this Google age, I don’t excuse these young pups. You have to WANT to be ignorant nowadays.

    • I think these are Black people who hang around too many 2520s.

      • Wild Cougar

        Hit the nail on the head.

      • Question

        These are Black people who want *validation* from 2520s.

        • Gbadebo

          THIS….is the real difference.
          I grew up in two communities…the local Nigerian community in my town and the nearly completely white neighborhood and schools I’ve gone to and lived in my entire life. I still have two communities of friends that I both love and try to bring together as much as possible (one predominantly non-black, the other predominantly black).
          I was definitely “different” as a kid, and still am today…but it takes a certain level of ignorance to think YOU are actually separate from the VARIOUS types of “black” we can all be. Especially given the amount of exposure there is today….it is insane to have this mentality.
          You can be a thug and rock skinny jeans nowadays man. There are no borders you can’t fall into BECAUSE THERE ARE NO BORDERS TO BEING BLACK!!

          • Lea Thrace

            Yes!

            Also, we lived the same life apparently. lol

            • Gbadebo

              Ha, did you also grow up in the south? (Tallahassee, Fl born and raised right cherrrrr)

              • Lea Thrace

                Savannah GA!

                • KB

                  I was scrolling quickly through the comments but just so happened to see Savannah, GA in there which caused an abrupt SKRT. Had to stop and shout-out the city where I was born and my mom’s side of the fam runs deep. Mom grew up on the westside (44th-46th street, near Cann Park). Mom, aunts, uncle, cousins and even some of their kids, went to A.E. Beach High School

                  • Lea Thrace

                    HVJ in the house. Repping the southside.

                    • KB

                      I need to make a trip back to Savannah, it’s been a min since my last visit. Haven’t been there since Ga Southern’s homecoming in 13.

                    • Lea Thrace

                      You in ATL or did you escape GA?

                    • KB

                      I’m in Tucson, AZ now.

                    • Lea Thrace

                      Thats whats up. I think I’m heading out to AZ for business in a few months. Will have to hit you and unk up while I’m gallivanting in that dry a$$heat.

                    • KB

                      most definitely. I’m trying to prepare for this heat myself, not to mention the monsoons, dust storms, scorpions etc. I think my black @$$ will just stay indoors.

                    • Lea Thrace

                      lissen. I am wilting at the thought of 100 degree dry heat. I havent experienced that since I left Nigeria. I am not sure Im gonna make it. lol

                    • KB

                      Don’t even think about hitting a pool either during that time. As my uncle says, ‘you’ll be like a hot dog in boiling water’

                    • FarbissinaPunim

                      I’m also in Tucson!!! Hey there!

                    • KB

                      Awww snap. Black Tucsonians unite, there aren’t a lot of us here from what I can tell so far.

                    • FarbissinaPunim

                      Nope. And I’m dying to meet a real life vss or vsb.

                    • KB

                      Same here. I’ve been here two months and still trying to get a feel for the city.

          • bicarbonat

            That’s my life too (Nigerian in Texas, growing up marinated in the church as well – and you’d better *believe* Christianity adds another layer of finger pointing and dissociation). What a mindjob.

            • Gbadebo

              I wouldn’t be surprised if you knew some of my family in Texas….you weren’t at an enormous wedding back on 14 Feb 2015?

              • bicarbonat

                I wouldn’t be surprised, either, Nigerian networks being what they are. Alas, I haven’t attended any Nigerian events (barring an uncle’s wake-keeping) since /whisper/ leaving my church. But I’m looking at the date and I’m gonna guess there were a lot of pink/red silk-covered chairs at this wedding hall, with obligatory bows tied to the backs, and more Guinness, Heineken, and VitaMalt than there are grains of sand by the sea.

          • Question

            Its a *choice* to have the mentality. The real question is why some people choose this mentality, and cling to it regardless of evidence suggesting otherwise.

            Here’s the thing: I think a lot of smart black kids at one point in time or another go through the Special Negro Status phase – where you think you’re different because you’re Black and _________. And then you are exposed to a bigger world and you realize that you’re not that different. For some it happens early, for others maybe its college, or grad school or first jobs. But it happens…eventually.

            But to cling to it, regardless of evidence suggesting otherwise? I guarantee you every person in this craptastic video has friends/family/brothers/cousins/peers who defy the stereotypes they still decided to articulate in this video.

            if anything, this is “reverse racism” – people clinging to negative stereotypes of groups to which they belong in order to boost sense of self…

        • Robbinesque

          This here? This is the truth.

      • eyecande

        I think the woman in the video (and screenshot Damon posted) is the actress on the show below. It’s on Black&SexyTV (which would make her participation even more problematic). Is that her?
        Am I trippin? #realblackpeoplequestions
        https://youtu.be/fDaK6OodgvA

        • That doesn’t look like her to me.

          • eyecande

            Hmm…ok. Well I just feel like I seent Po Lil Tink Tink somewhere.

        • Danielle

          Oh crap that does look like Wendy. I would have to watch it again but I don’t know if I can sit through that tomfoolery in order to do a thorough analysis :)

          • eyecande

            Haha! That’s why I haven’t been able to fully confirm. One viewing is more than enough.

            • Blueberry01

              Nah, it’s not Wendy (Khalilah Joi).

      • Actually, there’s two type of people who trend that way: Black people who trend that way and Black people who never, ever see ANYTHING outside the hood but don’t fit in for whatever reason.

      • Elliot

        Out of curiosity: If I say something about whit people hanging out with to many black people and then use a term that means “blacky” would you call me racist?

        Because that is exactly what you just did, except it was about “whitey”.

        • Vanity in Peril

          Nice try, Dwight peepholes

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        For real. Their best friends are definitely a white roommate from college…I’d put money on it.

    • miss t-lee

      Total special snowflakes.

  • RaeNBow

    Legit believe I was in shock watching that video. I’m really baffled that Black people participated in it. And NO ONE – not a single one of them – thought to say, “Nah. This ain’t goin.” Smh. Everybody at the staff meeting like, “yeah bawse, good idea!”

    • It was like 10 different people too. Not like 2 or 3

      • RaeNBow

        Group-think at its worst. All of em just co-signing ignorance.

      • Tambra

        Herd mentality is real. I guess the new black infection has spread further than originally assessed.

    • HeyBooHey

      I’m not. There’s black people who sincerely think of all those things. The “black lives matter but black on black crime” one especially

      • RaeNBow

        isht like that really burns my biscuits.

        • HeyBooHey

          When my mom spit it out one day, I literally had to walk out mid-convo

      • RagesAgainstMachines

        After reading how many black people support R. Kelly and Bill Cosby, I’m no longer shocked anymore either.

        • HeyBooHey

          Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It’s the reasoning that’s used, or lack thereof, that blows me

        • Doubting Thomas

          Kelly I can understand. If Roman Polanski and Woody Allen can get away with it etc.

          Cosby? I expected more gloating.

      • PhlyyPhree

        I am because although i don’t know ANY of those people, I wanted to believe that the special millennial post-racial unicorns who worked at Buzzfeed were beyond that.

        • Epsilonicus

          Many non-Millennial Black folks believe it too.

          • PhlyyPhree

            No I was saying, that it would be expected from the older generations and such. I wanted to believe that the “New Blacks” were, well, New.

        • HeyBooHey

          Nobody is beyond anything when it comes to clicks. The traffic articles like that bring in, the think pieces it’ll spawn that will make people look at the site more for similar pieces to bash/enjoy. I wonder if the intent was even pure or if it was just “let’s see what we could put out that would start a conversation”

          • PhlyyPhree

            I’m going to lean towards the latter. I work in advertising/marketing and the prevailing thought is always that eyes=dollars. No matter how you get those eyes.

    • miss t-lee

      My thoughts exactly. As a collective, nobody balked? Nobody?

  • NKORigible

    MTFKR!! I need get my d a m n cousins!! Ugh.

  • Dustin John Seibert

    I was prepared to come in like “YOU BEIN’ TOO SENSITIVE DAMON!!!!!”

    But nah son…I just watched it and cringed my daggone self.

    • Damon Young

      yeah, i felt that way too when first seeing the reactions on my timeline. like people were being hysterical. but then i watched it, lol.

    • That’s how I approached the video as well. Yeah…I was wrong.

    • ChokeOnThisTea

      You KNOW it’s bad when even Dustin “Sh it all over your blackness” thinks it’s bad.

      • Dustin John Seibert

        Defecating on yo’ negritude since 1981.

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          Correction: negrAtude

          And no lies there.

          • Dustin John Seibert

            And you got me messed up…I just crap on your love of Future. Quit listening to Future, COTT.

            • ChokeOnThisTea

              Never listened to a Future song a day in my life and can’t name one. Hands on the Bible, honest to God.

              See. If you didn’t sh it on my black womanhood so much, you’d know that quite a bit of us don’t like Future (or rap). =)

              (But so what if we did?)

              • Mochasister

                I only know about him because of Ciara.

            • -h.h.h.-

              young metro dont trust this…. #WICKEDWICKEDWICKEDWICKED

      • Dustin John Seibert

        “Your black womanhood.”

        Oh, you’re still salty about the single cuz you’re wack piece. Need a hug?

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          I DO! But only from a black man. So, you can’t help me. =)

      • Dustin John Seibert

        Burned! Thanks for the morning chuckle…engage with me anytime :)

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          *dusts shoulders off*
          I’m gonna leave you alone, Dustin only because I’m starting to feel like I’m bullying you. You paid your dues for that mistake. The slate is clean. Let’s start over.

          Hi, I’m ChokeOnThisTea and I’m your friend to the end. Hidyho! Hahaha

      • Dustin John Seibert

        Well…the beauty part of being me is I’m impervious to bullying. So I welcome any and all shots across the plate. They amuse me.

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          Alriiighhttt…..if you insist. But I must warn you. I’m brutal.

      • Dustin John Seibert

        In the estimable words of the homie Meth…bring the pain.

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          Lol! May Jesus be a morphine drip for you.

      • Val

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