The Random Ramblings of a Siobhan, started simply because she likes to ramble, and because the book told her to.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
It is primarily because of this video that I did not take part in the Otago University Harlem Shake today.
It seems I'm a bit slow on the uptake, because I only saw the viral 'Harlem Shake' videos on my Facebook feed a week ago at the most.
Here is the video I initially saw (and enjoyed!);
Now, I knew that the Harlem Shake is a particular movement, and I didn't assume that these people were trying to emulate the Harlem Shake itself- I presumed they were just making a funny video, and I still think that's all it was.
But after watching this video on the reactions from Harlem itself (and only very soon before the Otago University Harlem Shake had been due to begin), I went through that torn state of mind that tends to occur within me when I'm presented with sociological issues.
You know, the little voice in me that's says, "No, it's just all a bit of fun! Don't take life so seriously!" versus the little voice in me that asks, "Is this going to offend someone, and should I be offended that people are doing this?"
Perhaps the original creators of this viral phenomenon really had seen the Harlem Shake and thought, "What the hell is that!?" and found it amusing, and decided to make a joke out of it. Perhaps they really were belittling the dance. But I think all the copy cat video makers don't even realise what the Harlem Shake is, and are just copying a viral video that they found amusing, taking it even further out of context.
A friend of mine posted on his Facebook last Saturday (about the time I'd first seen the videos); "ever since the dawn of time white people have been jacking shit from black folk and claiming it as their own ppl been shaking since before biggie :P
you can have Jesus Christ, you can have Babe Ruth but you cant have the harlem shake!"
And he'd accompanied that post with a video of the Harlem Shake.
Did he seem offended? Not really, but then I suppose you can't tell over the internet.
But after seeing the video of other people's reactions, genuinely offended and feeling belittled, I felt that if I can't quite understand where I stand on this issue, it's better to stay at home and quietly google belly dance instead of going out and doing something that could potentially be offensive, even if it is enjoyable in the short term.
I'm in one of the best places I've been in my life. I'm studying something I love; double degree in French and Physical education, I'm managing my stress, I have an absolute passion for bellydancing, I have wonderful friends and family whom I love very much, and the future is confusing but I don't mind.