Reflecting on that Viral Racist Video

After a night out with my roommates a few weeks ago, we woke up the next morning and reviewed the events that had occurred the night before. First, we rounded up the whole house, got ready together and headed over to The Drink. We bumped into our ex-roommate that we were not on good terms with, which was quite honestly an uncomfortable experience considering we almost accidentally stole her uber (sorry, by the way). What was even more terrifying was the video we saw posted to Spotted at Laurier, a Snapchat of a girl repeatedly using the N-word. One of my roommates quickly recognized the girl; “I was talking to her in line,” she told us, “we went to camp together.”

Image from 1PUTTZ/Reddit

The student in the video apologized on her Instagram, but the damage was done. Laurier issued a statement condemning the language, and students have expressed their anger on social media. As we watched the video, we wondered if she would drop out of school. Laurier isn’t that large and as the video surfaced around campus, it seemed like everyone had come across it. And yes, the student was clearly intoxicated, and yes, she is allegedly from Oakville, a predominantly white and upper-class town. But no, it is never justified nor acceptable to say what she did. The worst part, we thought, is that she genuinely appeared to mean what she said. She was only sorry that she was caught on tape.

Photo from Pastor Shane Pruitt

We live in a culture that doesn’t hesitate to call out other people on their mistakes. A tweet, video or Instagram post can easily go viral and ruin a person’s reputation in a matter of seconds. This isn’t exactly a foreign concept either, public shaming has always existed in society, think back to when you first heard of The Scarlet Letter. The difference now is that the immediacy of social media makes it so much easier to get your point across and share content to a wider audience. The fascinating part is, public shaming has always been prevalent, but many people still ignore the potential effects that their words have on others. Or maybe, they just don’t care.

Photo from NurPhoto

What did this video do for her, and what does it mean for us? Well hopefully, it gave her at the very least a wakeup call, and somewhat of an education, the very reason she would have come to Laurier in the first place. Character is what we say when we think no one is looking. If that Snapchat video was never posted, the student would have lived on in her state of ignorance. It might be a blessing in disguise for her, but a painful reminder of the ongoing racism that still exists in the Laurier community for us.

 

Photo by Stephen Uhraney