Ratchet Humor & Double Standards

Vernon Holman | Staff Writer

“Ratchet Humor” has become a recent phrase used by people who find things that can be seen in correlation to “ratchetness” as funny.

Usually people come to the conclusion that they aren’t ratchet and don’t like “ratchetness” but find the products of “ratchetness” humorous. When I thought about this, I immediately thought of double standards. Remember when “#HBCUMajors” was trending on Twitter? Users were flooding timelines with tweets that HBCU majors were things such as “Physics with a concentration in twerking,” “baby mama 101,” “crack dealing etiquette,” “advanced food stamps acquisitions” and so on. Others contested this by saying that HBCUs built the black middle class and were the institutes of learning for our civil rights activists.

I felt these tweets were very ignorant. Many of the people who those that tweeted regarding this subject tried to defend “#HBCUMajors” by saying they were only jokes in fun. I acknowledge that but in the same sense if a person of another race, especially a white person, would have participated and tweeted anything of that nature, they would be completely chastised. The fun and games would be over and majority of black people would have bashed this person, which is a double standard. This only goes to show that the tweets are offensive. So why keep distributing tweets about “twerkonomics?” Is it because it’s okay to mock a race as long as you are a part of it?

If you look at the achievements of African Americans in this country, HBCUs are one of the first aspects mentioned. Schools such as Howard University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College are renowned nationally for their academics. Yet, our own people act mockingly toward their students and achievements for comic relief. Is that morally justified?

I feel as though some members of our community have an attitude regarding those they consider “ratchet.” Some of us feel as though we are better than those that are “ratchet,” and therefore would never want to associate ourselves with being “ratchet.” Yet, we find humor in watching videos on “World Star Hip Hop” which make fun of these people.

Even though it makes fun of these ratchet individuals, in the same sense they are glorified for their actions. I know people who watch reality shows such as “Bad Girls Club” and “Basketball Wives.” They will admit that if the show doesn’t have someone throwing drinks or fighting then they won’t watch it. You can argue that these same attributes are associated with being “ratchet.” We give people who enact “ratchet” behavior huge platforms for attention. Yet, if someone were to think that our race as a whole is “ratchet” because these people have the biggest platforms, we will get mad. The black community gets angry if we see black people only portrayed as stereotypical gang members, violent or single mothers in movies, yet we make people who are “ratchet” popular by indulging in ratchet humor. Members of other races and nationalities who have never been exposed to African Americans personally will only know us through what is being shown in the media- which largely falls under “ratchet” behavior and “ratchet humor.” It’s just something to think about.

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