Friday, February 5, 2016

Can we stop with the “make this post go viral” posts?

While we're at it, stop the other version, too: the “bet the news won’t tell you this” posts.

The subject of these posts is generally some good thing, a feel good announcement. A dad playing with his kids or putting his cute little girl’s hair up in a puffy-ponytail. A group of friends who all graduated high school together. A set of twins that graduated college. A group of boys who are smartly dressed in khakis and button-down shirts and ties.  The people are always Black. Or at least the ones that come across my timeline. Maybe there’s a White version of these, too, they just don’t fill my social media feed (aside from the one of the girls who rearranged themselves from their class photo to spell the N-word – my how proud their parents must be.) 

Anyway, the premise is: look, here’s some folks who are doing good and the news won’t tell you about them.

So here’s some things to think about for those people who want these things to “go viral.”
  • The news trades on bad news. Shootings, bank robberies, bad traffic, celebrity death. Every now and then a “feel good” personal interest story. But for the most part – house on fire, drug bust, kid stealing a bicycle, 2 feet of snow. They don’t really do “good news” a whole lot.
  • These are people doing stuff they are supposed to do. That’s not news. These people aren’t doing anything extraordinary – they’re doing exactly what they are expected to do. Take care of their kids, wear proper clothing, graduate from school. Its not supposed to be on the news anymore than you going to the grocery store and buying a gallon of milk. Sure, you could go to the corner and buy crack (if that’s where you buy crack, I’m not even sure) and that would make the news – because that’s interesting and not the norm. Mom going to buy milk? Yawn. Dad combing his daughter’s hair – okay, maybe not the “norm,” and probably cute, but interesting enough to go viral? Unless the dad is really really fine…. Yawn.

I get it – the idea of these should-be-viral photos is to disprove the negative stereotypes of (Black) people by showing proof of (Black) people being good. But that’s an odd argument to me. Look- we can do good stuff, put it on the news – makes it seem like some kind of anomaly, rather than the norm. Its almost like an argument of proof that’s disproving itself. (There may be some mathematical definition to this but I took Logic long time ago.)

Its like when you get on your kid about sneaking cookies and they’re like “why do you always fuss about me being bad. Why don’t you ever say ‘good job’ for me sitting down quietly or doing my homework?” Because they’re supposed to do that stuff!

Finally - Who the heck knows the magic formula for things going viral? Like that gold or blue dress and that silly guy eating Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pies. What? Why? Generally, it at least takes something being very sexy or very stupid. I imagine both would really create a viral-storm to break the internet.  But generally it is not stuff that someone says “make this go viral.”

So post the pics of your husband doing your daughter's hair and the kids reading books on the subway. Allow folks to "like" or RT or share. Let people enjoy. But stop telling us to make it go viral.

Next rant….folks who post stuff and tell you that if you type “Amen” in the comments God’s going to bless you. I need a Biblical citation. Where did Jesus say that?

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