The latest trending meme in pop culture is..wait for it…”S- – – White Girls Say…to Black Girls”. A series of video parodies, produced by differnet individuals, has gone viral, spreading like wildfire across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The first video was the infamous, “S- – – Girls Say.” Followed by “S- – – Black Girls Say” and “S- – – White Girls Say.” There have been numerous parodies that delve in what Asian girls, natural hair girls, and Canadians say.
Boasting over 5 million hits on YouTube, “S- – – White Girls Say … to Black Girls” has become an instant sensation. The sensation has stirred up a cit of controversery. Some critics have called the creators of these videos racists. Franchesca Ramsey, a 27 year old year old blogger, dons a bleach blond wig and a perfectly accented “white girl” voice. She pretends to touch African American hair, describing it as a Brillo pad or feeling like Cheetos. She explains that she has black friends and doesn’t really like black guys. At the end of the video, she asks if anyone has seen the “S- – – Black Girls Say video? [It’s] kinda racist.”
The creator discusses what lead her to make the now infamous video:
As a teacher who values critical thought and written expression, I am excited about sharing this video with my students (most of whom have already seen it), and asking them to write about it. What an engaging way to ask students to look for themes, patterns, and apply criticism? Lately, I have been taking many of our listening, viewing, and writing standards, and asking students to apply these skills to popular culture. You would be suprised how much engagement you get from students when they actually have something that they have an opinion about!
1. Have students watch the videos.
2. Ask each student to develop a thesis statement to discuss, not the content of the video, but offer a social commentary or theme that they can defend in written format.
3. Revise and share their thesis statements.
4. Draft an outline to write a critical essay that responds to the video.
Useful? Immensely. I find that the more my students write about topics that are real to them, the better they refine their own writing skills. These skills are easily transferable when we write an analysis of Othello or Antigone. The skills are the same, but the practice with something relevant to their own cultural memes helps them to establish the skill set in a manner that helps the students internalize the skill of analysis and critical thought. I also think that, as educators, we should teach students to confront topics of race, bias, and stereotypes; engage in dialogue about what happens in society. A friend of mine who teaches high school shared an experience when she actually heard a teacher in the math department tell a group of black journalism students that writing about the N-word was a bad idea because it would stir up problems. For me, that is the same as saying, “Quiet, n -gga, don’t be causing trouble.”
This is a Flat World. We all make up the global fabric of society. Pretending differences and misconceptions don’t exist just perpetuates them in a passive aggressive manner. Don’t be a willing participant in that.
Here’s to Tuesday’s writing lesson!
**UPDATE** On 1/13/2012 The SEQUEL was posted. Do I see a trilogy in the works?