Monday, August 24, 2015

Attitudes & Assumptions About Africans & About Poor People In A Discussion Thread Of A Ugandan Children's Dance Video

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides selected comments from the discussion thread of the YouTube video This video showcases Ghetto Kids, a Ugandan children's dance dancing to the hit 2014 Afrobeat song "Sitya Loss".

These selected comments reveal certain attitudes and assumptions about Africans and/or about poor people in general, or about poor children specifically.

Click "Ghetto Kids" - A Problematic Name For A Talented Ugandan Children's Dance Group" for a companion post on this same video.

Also click for a pancocojams post about the video "Sitya Loss".

Thanks to Ghetto Kids for their dancing ability. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the producer of this video and its publisher on YouTube.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Ghetto Kids Dancing Sitya Loss New Ugandan music 2014 DjDinTV

DjDinTV Uganda Music Videos, Published on Jan 31, 2014

Sitya loss [by] Eddy Kenzo...

The comments that are featured in this post aren't the only ones that express certain assumptions. Among the other assumptions that some commenters made are
1. that the word "ghetto" means the same things outside of the United States as it does in the United States
2. that all Black people can dance
3. that White people can't dance

The companion post about this video provides comments that debunks the assumption given as #1. There are probably lots of online articles or comments that debunk assumptions #2 and #3.

I decided to focus on the attitudes and assumptions about the poor that are expressed in these comments because I was surprised at how pervasive those themes were in that discussion thread. These comments below aren't the only ones in that discussion thread which express those attitudes and assumptions.

I believe that these attitudes and assumptions can and do have serious sociological and political consequences. But I leave that to others to explore.

These comments are sub-divided into certain sections based on a particular theme. I've assigned numbers within each sub-division for referencing purposes only. I'm reposting these comments with no editorial comments.

These examples were gleaned from the comments written in English. No comments below include profanity or racist content. However, as a warning, please be aware that a number of racists comments and a few comments that include profanity and/or homophobic references can be found in that YouTube discussion thread.

Sub-Section #1
1. Webbing Castro, February, 2015
"The Kids teach me alot ..that one can make the World happy and full of smiles even without material objects. Despite the fact that they nearly have nothing in material things...their moves make me feel that the kids are VERY RICH IN LIFE AND IN SPIRIT! KEEP GOING AND KEEP STRONG!....To those who do not like it..please do not do so just coz the kids are human enough and learn to appreciate kids no matter what!....i mean those who click thumbs down..AND AM NOT MINCING MY WORDS! I MEAN IT !"

2. aloo892472, March 2015
"I was born and bred in Uganda ; being of Indian origin the Exodus in 1972 brought me to UK aged 15.....these guys remind me of my young days in Uganda .Its a great life in Africa,and though I understood only some of this Lugandi song,the joy is indescribable ......and the poor kids are never sad ; their happiness always emerges through music and dance.Long Live Uganda."

3. Zeus BACHDOR, April 2015
"Many people think that African die because of poverty, but they forget that the joy that animates African allow them to survive each day !! !!! Proud to be African!"

4. kiddonet1, May 2015
"we africans are simple and happy people :) the magic of africa!!!"

5. Noah oluwo, June 2015
"You can tap or steal all u want from us. The Oil, Gold, Diamond and many more. Bring the modified lies n call it DEMOCRAZY. Unfortunately, You can't steal HAPPINESS. It is OURS and you can never have it. Africa: Happy People"

6. stingy hass, June 2015
"you only find this kind of stuff in Africa, Europeans know only money and wealth our wealth is the humanness and love for fun"

7. Mbock Brimandi, June 2015
"These little genius are so funny. They are very strong dancers, my Africans young brothers. You guys are more happy than kids here in the USA even if they have everything but still they are shooting in school. It is much better and noble than opening a fire in a school. Poverty is not a fatality but been unhappy and unstable is worst than a cancer. Stay together! I do not just understand why they call you guys ghetto kids. First this word does not exist in any Bantu language; so if it is proven that the word ghetto is European then they must had or still have them. I'm in the USA and I could tell you right now that there are ghettos here for example in the down town of Paterson in New Jersey the one I know. So do not believe that you are one. Life in your place is not stressful like here, it is natural; everything here is artificial starting from the food will chemicals and people are afraid of getting sick because they cannot afford hospital bills unless they have one of the best insurance coverage. But we are in the first developed country in the world. They pretend to know God and with arrogance they think to teach you about God although they are the ones who really need to know God because they live like prisoners who do not socialize with their neighborhood. They keep sending their parent to shelters because they do not want to take care of them.
Your Cameroonian brother from USA."

8. Amynah Abdy, August 2015
"From the kids to the beats...ohh my I love Africa XXX the pride and cradle of mankind it surely is as the joy and happiness we express is priceless!!!"

Sub-section #2
1. Marc Edrice Maxi, February 2015
"You don't need money to be happy!!"

2. RealBrigitteHarris, March 2015
"I love this video! To me I see happy children dancing and being happy because society has not yet told them that they cannot be happy until they have name brand clothes, fancy cars, mansions and more money than they can ever spend. I remember living in West Africa when I was 12 and as long as we had enough food to eat and water to drink I was quite content to climb trees, play in the dirt and go to the beach without worrying what I looked like, what I was wearing or what anyone else thought of me. That is the Africa I miss."

3. Ama n, April 2015
"They are not ghetto; they are humble happy children dancing. Ghetto is a mind set conceived by the west to belittle those who do not live according the west's standards of living. The are richer in ways you cannot even begin to conceive.❤"

4. Abraham Barrientos, April 2015
"Among poverty and hunger, they are still happy and able to live a life...God bless Africa!!!"

5. Brunel M'bodi, May 2015
"+Christina Davila Ghetto has different meaning in Africa. it mean poor children. so basically it mean poor children who dont have anything but still happy :)"

6. Buush Mo, June 2015

7. Lucy Nzowa, August 2015
"It is not their fault that they're poor...besides poor people are probably the happiest and most peaceful people on this earth

8. MUH FACKS, August 2015
"what's so "ghetto" about this? to me, this just looks like lil youngns in the neighborhood dancing, living life and most importantly of all--having FUN. yea they might seem to not have as many materialistic possessions and objects like most of us (if you simply own a computer, you are privileged, just remember that) but i guarantee you they have more soul, spirit and true happiness that none of us will ever find in our lifetime. as the old saying goes and is so true, material possessions don't mean jack sh&t* if you're not happy within and your spirit is broken word to Bob Marley. learn from this, people
*This word was fully spelled out in this comment.

Sub-section #3
1. tube or not tube, March 2015
"+Dan Heather I figured after I search for the song and group but it still is awesome. I can easily imagine even real kids with same spirit in africa. I am from India and there was this argument afer slum dog millionaire that are kids really that innocent in indian slums. I like to believe they are and any sense of superficiality that comes across while acting in a movie or music video should not be conflicted with their innocence."

2. tube or not tube, March 2015
"What does the song mean ? Pure pure Joy and raw innocent human happiness flows from the music and dance.
So wish I could experience the joy of these kids. Big big hug and kiss to these kids. Uganda you rock!"
Also, note these similar comments about children being innocent:
1. "The innocents of children are priceless, you ask them to dance and they just go for it,,,without thinking about race or color...plz stop the Hate remarks,,,let the kids enjoy life..."

2. Stacey Ebekweh, July 2015
"kids are so innocent, Bless there souls"

ADDED 8/25/2015
Sub-section #4
1.blacksultan85, January 2015
"afican ghetto kids got skillz"

2. Kwabena God, May 2015
"What a world. Where I am from, being ghetto is an honor/honour. We all aspire to be ghetto."

3. kaporillo84ooooooooo, June 2015
"I don't see anything ghetto about this. It't not their fault that dance, music, hip hop and Rhythm was born there. People, remember where your roots are from."

4. Unruly Hesbon, July 2015
"Ghetto yutes are the futute....Ghetto full of it"

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  1. To clarify, I believe that comments about African people being happy and full of joy such as those that I quoted in this post are different from comments that note that Africans know how to enjoy life.

    Here are two examples of those type of comments from the same video's discussion thread:

    zack ericson, June 2015
    "got to love it inspiring if this doesn't inspire you nothing will us African love to celebrate no matter how bad the times are"

    loviet ouma, August 2015
    "we may not have much but trust me we really enjoy ourselves"

  2. Regarding the assumption that poor people are more creative than rich people, here's part of my comment that I added to the pancocojams post on the "Ghetto Kids" name:
    Regarding [the] comment [that] "afican ghetto kids got skillz", this comment may express the belief that African children (or people) in poor communities are more creative than in more well to do communities. I've read a related belief or assumption about African Americans that African Americans from the "hood" (poor or working class neighboorhoods) are more creative than well to do African Americans -regarding dancing, singing/rapping... The idea is that this is so because they (we) are more authentic, more [for] real, less inhibited by artificial (mainstream) society rules."...

    Also, it appears from my online reading that Ajegunle district in Lagos, Nigeria is routinely referred to as a ghetto. And Daddy Showkey's nickname is "Ghetto soldier". In both cases, the word "ghetto" appear to be used as a compliment. It occurs to me that calling that performer "Ghetto soldier" confers a large measure of street cred (credibility) to him such as that which occurs when a rapper from the United States brags that he is from "the hood".