BuzzFeed faced a lot of criticism over their “27 Questions Black People Have for Black People” video last week. The media company tweeted an apology for the video yesterday (April 18), but many say that it’s not enough.
We’ve heard your concerns about last week’s video. We made a mistake, and want to get better at earning the trust of our black audience.
— BuzzFeedVideo (@BuzzFeedVideo) April 18, 2016
The video, which BuzzFeed has yet to remove (and appears above), features several Black employees asking questions like, “Why do Black people look at your shoes before they greet you?” and ”Do we really think Black is beautiful?” The video received tremendous criticism on social media and from journalists for its stereotyping and reductive idea of Black identity. NPR’s Leah Donnella wrote a response piece that summed up many critics’ central concerns:
The problem is that questions like “Why do we call each other the N-word, but get vehemently upset when a White person uses the N-word?” are presented as though they’re new, daring and bold, ignoring the fact that they’ve been taken up since time immemorial by Black folks, White folks, scholars, historians, academics, activists, writers and others. The vast majority could be addressed by a 15-second Internet search or reading a Wikipedia page on structural racism.
It’s also that many of the questions seem to presuppose that Blackness exists in a vacuum, and that the actions, beliefs and perceptions of Black people haven’t been shaped by, say, housing segregation, mass incarceration, poverty, underfunded schools and the like.
The following responses to BuzzFeed’s tweeted apology (sourced by The Root) suggest that BuzzFeed didn’t go far enough:
@BuzzFeedVideo But did you take that trash down?
— LV (@LVshewontstop) April 18, 2016
— groovy sensation (@afrosinatra) April 18, 2016
only the most painfully white organization could see “gaining the trust of our black audience” as a goal– HIRE BLACK PEOPLE @BuzzFeedVideo
— Pia Glenn (@PiaGlenn) April 18, 2016