Professor Susurro has an excellent post up on the Antoine Dodson internet “meme” that I think is an absolute must-read. To wit:
In the midst of this institutional racism are the actions of three groups that cannot be ignored:
1. the viewers and listeners who openly mocked Dodson, completely ignoring the rape survivor narrative embedded in his story
2. the white middle class hipster-nerd comedy troupe that made money off of the rape and attempted rape of poor black women and girls and the one man willing to stand up for them
3. the mainstream feminist blogs and feminist communities who have remained largely silent on Dodson’s sister despite the core issue of rape
The multi-racial viewers and listeners spent their time laughing at Dodson and mocking him and his sister in print in the youtube comments for days. The video received some of the largest hits of the week when it first went up. The auto-tune version played black radio stations and a black marching band even set did their own rendition, laughing at the “ghetto” in ways that I personally cannot excuse as black humor as survival but rather black humor as classism and internalized hate. Amongst the 100,000s of people commenting on Dodson or the autotune song, very few talked about the heinous act of rape, the existence of a serial rapist in the area that had gone unchecked for an unspecified amount of time, or the engineered tragedy of the state’s willingness to abandon poor women and girls to predators. In other words, the chance to mock an uneducated black man was more enticing than the fact of violence against women and girls. The very thing that allowed systemic racism, classism, and sexism to do nothing about a serial rapist in state owned low income housing was manifesting in individual viewers of Dodson’s story.