Now normally I’d HATE to give this more attention than it is already receiving, but this is something I feel compelled to talk about.
[If you aren’t already familiar with 13 year old Danielle Bregoli, perform a quick search of her on YouTube by putting in the phrase “cash me ousside”… Yup, spelled like that!]
In any case, when I first saw her video, like anyone else I laughed. I laughed at her cringe-worthy, over-the-top attempt to imitate African American vernacular, I laughed at her mother “translating” her words for Dr. Phil and the audience, I laughed at Dr. Phil and the audience’s reaction, and I laughed at the young girl’s “angry chihuahua complex”.
To me, this was just another one of those “bad teens” trying to look cool, I watched them all through the 90’s on talk shows, and watched as motivational speakers (like D. West) and drill Sergeants successfully and unsuccessfully tried to get them to turn their lives around. While this was humorous, I would always hope for the best for these children and hope that these episodes were simply phases that they’d outgrow and not the result of a deeper psychological issue or a form of coping from some sort of childhood trauma.
Now to the point…
I began to realize how much more harmful it is to be an unruly child like Danielle, now than it was 20 or so years ago. The “Cash me ousside” girl has gained notoriety… She is now an internet sensation, she is the subject of countless memes, she was in a rapper’s music video, SHE’S A STAR!!! And all of this for being a hooligan, attempting to fight her mom, stealing cars, etc.
I will ignore (but mention) the “privilege” she has that makes her endearing rather than scorned and seen as a hoodlum. We (and by we, I mean society) are actually REWARDING her for this behavior; we are encouraging deviance.
Before you mock me for being a boring “square”, think about it… She has no incentive to change now. If she winds up on a reality show, it will be because she was a trouble-maker, not because she was an “A” student. What message does this put out to kids?
Her deviance and disrespectful behavior is now her “claim to fame”, it is a character she has to keep up if she wants to build off of that. And we know the entertainment industry works on imitation; that is, once others say something is successful, they will attempt to imitate it to ride the wave of popularity. Wanna know an example? Google the meme of Sweet Brown (“Ain’t nobody got time for dat” lady) and then Google her less popular, less funny, imitator (“Not today!” Lady). Some kids will see this girl, and they will be encouraged to be disrespectful brats… This is ESPECIALLY true for children, who are vulnerable to peer pressure, and want to do “cool” things they see other kids do in popular media.
It’s a new world we live in, if this same Danielle Bregoli girl occurred in the 90’s, we’d all be watching her on t.v., while we adjusted our wire hanger antennas. Then, we’d forget about it… there’d be no popular memes, she wouldn’t be on any music videos, no t.v. shows, nothing. She’d probably become a nostalgic meme decades later, but hopefully by then she’d have outgrown her “gangsta” phase. In any case, we’ll see what happens with this one.
Cash y’all lata!