24-year old Antoine Dodson is an internet sensation. He appeared in YouTube videos as a different face of the American experience as black, poor, and homosexual. His video flooded social media and has catapulted him into a household name but at what cost?
I wondered why people were laughing. Are some laughing at him, because he is poor and others because he is a black male and homosexual?
Dodson may have single handedly erupted in me what I find to be a problem in entertainment—its largely simplistic, mindless humor that allows audiences to laugh at others as objects of our fascination and ridicule.
As we sit glued to our computers and televisions laughing at other experiences are we merely feeding our biases?
Moreover, why are these alternative lifestyles so hilarious? Why is it funny that Dodson is gay? Are gay people only the caricatures that we should laugh at and never take seriously?
I respect Dodson for sharing his story about the ills of the inner city, particularly the lack of concern for the attempted rape of a woman by many in the community and the need for strong law enforcement in the inner city in order to foster security for families in Lincoln Park.
It is a shame that for every laugh about the inner city and Dodson’s plea, it has desensitized audiences even more.
My hope is that one day the Dodson family and all American families can live in safety. But I believe that we all have to begin taking stories like Dodson seriously enough to not laugh.