JAI
When media is created by White people, it’s easy to for them, we’d imagine, to forget about the Black perspective.  Then the overcompensation tokenizing ensues where oppressive cultures try to “get the Black perspective” on a topic forcing us to become representations of every Black experience.  The consequence is a monolithic view of Black with which White people can be comfortable that is more oppressive than the White washed version with which we are uncomfortable.

All of that escaped this filmmaker.

We at JAI have spoken about the thinly veiled racism in gay culture.  It hedges itself as preference, but, when examined, holds the same tenants of racism as it more overt generational predecessors.

Kyle Krieger is a California-based hair stylist turned YouTube sensation.  He reach some critical success quickly on the social media platform for his beauty tips meets nice body meets White privilege.  He’s been able to shine his camera on his White gay life to amass a viewing audience of nearly 200,000 subscribers.

In the two years since his first video, his White candor on YouTube has landed him features in YouTube productions, a Tedx Talk on surrendering, and many other accolades that beg the question of “how can you not see White privelege?”  But his latest project made us at JAI wonder how certain glaring aspects could have escaped him.

The nearly 6-minute short film begins with many of us making all the same assumptions.  “Why can’t dating really be this easy?”  “Why can’t I find a man like this?”  “Stone Mountain is just up the street.  Why can’t I find somebody to go hiking with?”

And, in gay fashion, the signals were crossed, expectations were mangled, and what one person thought was going one direction, the other took a sharp left into awkward-ville.  Watching, one would think it’s a simple misunderstanding until the final seconds reveal the truth in Shonda-land cliffhanger fashion.

The short film is not without merits.  It depicts the fine line between love and friendship that many of us topple over.  Culturally, many of us have no barometer for the difference between deep connection and amorous attraction.  More importantly, the need for clarity and communication as we develop these connections allows for more fluid exchange.

Notwithstanding, this film is a clear depiction on how Black men Black culture is in a constant battle to prove itself.  Just the idea that a movement has to be called #BlackLivesMatter is proof positive that Black life, from a broad cultural perspective, does not in fact matter. For Krieger to depict this love story, in this way, is a cultural omen of a truth that so many Black people live with and die from every day–that, regardless of your best efforts, they still want the White version.

Stay woke.

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  • Steven Austin

    I kinda wish you had tied your points back to the video more explicitly.

    • Jai…

      That’s fair. The premise is that White privilege allows White people to not even consider the cultural ramifications of their expression. Kyle Krieger is not racist, but this film shows that he doesn’t even have to consider the broader implications of his privilege.

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