A Take on This Episode of Kids React
Riling up most K-pop fans, a lot of the kids reacted negatively to the K-pop videos they were shown. I will start by pointing out that the “Kids React” videos are meant to be funny, so it’s also likely that some of the older kids were trying to be funny (in kid language, that means be antagonistic), and it’s also likely that The Fine Bros edited it to what they felt were the funniest comments. I knew that, when people were requesting the K-pop videos weeks ago, it would turn out this way. I’d seen them do a J-pop video before, with that animated popstar they have in Japan (I don’t know her name), and the kids, though some liked it (just like some of the kids liked the K-pop), ripped it apart (just like the kids ripped K-pop apart). But, since some did like it, and said they would listen to K-pop again, being equally split just like the real K-pop fandom (3 for 2NE1, 3 for Super Junior, and I think 4 for SNSD), I think I’m right about them just showing what they felt were the funniest comments, which would be the most antagonistic ones, in this case. Dylan, for instance, seemed to enjoy the videos, and they barely showed him. THAT SAID.
I’m not going to comment on whether or not the kids should like K-pop. Instead, I’m going to focus on the comments that were made, and why they are unfortunate. One of the children said something like “there are a lot of weird people in the world,” when asked why people would like K-pop. He said “not that you have to be weird to like it, but I bet most of the people who like it are.” I do realize that, when you’re that age, how “weird” you seem to your peers matters. But to me, it’s sort of unfortunate that kids would think that, just because you think something will be seen as weird, you shouldn’t do or like it. Not K-pop; anything. The truth is, most Americans don’t like K-pop, or either don’t even know what it is. But the other truth is that you can’t decide what you like based on whether other people will think it’s weird, or not. I see this a lot with the kids in my family. I see this a lot with the kids I’ve worked with, in the past. If one kid is into something that none of the rest of them are, he or she is basically ridiculed for it… and not just something that is foreign to the country or culture. It could be something older, from a different generation, or from a different genre than their peers like. It could be too colorful, or too happy, or whatever. I really wish people would raise their kids to be open-minded, and to understand that everyone is different and that’s okay. “Weird” should not be a bad thing. That’s also where bullying comes from. If someone is not like the others, he or she will be singled out. Why should that boy dislike K-pop because “weird people” like it? Or anything? What makes a person “weird”? That they can enjoy something that other people in their peer group/circle/country don’t necessarily enjoy?
Another kid said they don’t like it because they can’t understand what they’re saying. That is a typical non-K-pop fan comment… but I was watching and wondering why so many people say that. Do you need to understand the lyrics to like the music? Then, I was watching Disney channel, and I see glaring examples of why people feel this way. There are three characters on Disney Channel that are big, insulting caricatures of foreign people and cultures. A cousin of mine, who has two elementary aged children, pointed this out to me. These characters are supposed to represent the weirdness of anything foreign. They don’t eat the same food, they talk weird, they dress weird, and they don’t understand simple American things. It doesn’t help that two of these people are supposed to be the bad guys of the show. But that concept isn’t new. American media has either humorized or exotified foreign cultures for generations. That’s why, when presented with something from a foreign culture, the average American will be like “what is that, like, some weird foreign shit?” Not only is that unfortunate, but it’s sort of embarrassing. In a country where we have people from almost every culture on Earth, how can we be so non-accepting of anything that isn’t American, or at least American-like, like Canadian successes such as Drake or Justin Bieber? But if it’s as foreign as Asia, even if it’s nearly the exact same thing as American stuff (like K-pop), it’s still seen as “weird foreign stuff”. That, or it’s seen as “just copying” American stuff. Either way, it’s not good. It’s “those people”, and therefore, you are supposed to dislike it.
I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this video (aside from comments made about “all of them looking alike” which is a classic Asian racism line), is that I thought we were moving towards becoming a MORE open-minded world. I remember my generation, in the 90s, learning about how everyone was different, and other cultures were interesting, and people are still people no matter what color or religion or ethnicity they are, or what their culture is. You see it a lot with the late-teens/20-something in this country. Not EVERY young person is really open-minded, but a lot are. We’re more open about race, gender, sexuality, culture, etc… Not so much religion, because I see a lot of obnoxious atheists in our generation who disrespect people’s religions on a regular basis, but… in a lot of cases, we have become a really open-minded generation. So… to see the one directly behind us being so closed-minded, and so unaccepting of anything different, it’s kind of disheartening. It’s sad. It’s like coming so far just to take several steps back. I guess I just… am urging parents, and people who hope to be parents in the future, to take the time to introduce your kids to something other than Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Rebecca Black, and whatever just happens to come on Disney Channel. Teach your kids that it’s okay to be “weird”, and to not hate themselves for whatever other people think is weird about them, whether it’s their race, their culture, their sexuality, or even just that they like to sit on the internet and blog all day about… whatever topic isn’t “cool” to their peers. Teach them that it’s okay to just be themselves, and that it’s okay for other people, too. That other people aren’t “weird” just because they don’t like the same things, don’t look the same, or don’t speak the same language. Teach them these things, people…
Because the reactions here… they speak a little louder, to me, than just not liking K-pop. (As an aside, the only Asian kid, Dylan, is the only kid who didn’t say something negative. And he had never seen K-pop before, either. THAT’S the point I’m making.)