Scroll To Top

Viral Diversity Video Shows We Still Have Work to Do

Viral Diversity Video Shows We Still Have Work to Do

Viral Diversity Video Shows We Still Have Work to Do

Not everyone was moved to tears by this viral video.

Over the past couple weeks, my Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr feeds (and probably yours, too) have been inundated with a Valentine’s Day themed video about diversity. It shows a large x-ray screen with skeletons kissing, hugging and dancing together. Then, as the big surprise, these lovers and dancers step out to reveal themselves as a lesbian couple, an interracial couple, and a disabled child and her friend, among others.

I’ll give credit where credit is due. Yes, the video is sweet. Yes, for the people who are still living in 1812, who think diversity is a bad thing, perhaps it can serve to melt their icy hearts.

But why are we not past this yet?

I am tired of having to convince people that despite my queer-ness I still have a skeleton and a beating heart—that I can act and look “just like you.” I am tired of having to literally show you that we are similar; that my insides work the same as yours. To me, this video isn’t a celebration of diversity. What this video says to me is that everyone who is looking at these kissing skeletons is picturing them as exactly their idea of “normal.” Seeing a gay or black couple and being surprised about it only means that chances are, you were assuming them to be white, straight, and able-bodied from the beginning.

I’m sorry, but if you’re moved to tears because what you thought was a “normal” couple turns out to be mixed race, you have a hell of a lot of work to do. There is nothing novel about an interracial relationship. There is nothing novel about a same-sex couple. There is nothing novel about a disabled child having friends. The year is 2015, y’all.

All of that being said, I know it is far easier to criticize and tear down events like this than it is to put one together. However, small, well-meaning efforts can often turn out problematic and send the wrong message. When looked at critically, this video is little more than a theatrical closet. While the reactions here are overwhelmingly positive, that isn’t always the case for people coming out from behind the curtain.

If you need something impactful to share on social media, I’d like to point you in the direction of the #blackout tag. On Friday the 6th, the black Tumblr community banded together to flood dashes and news feeds with photos and selfies in a statement about visibility.

We can create sweet, viral, impactful content without erasing the importance of visible identities. While the sentiment “we’re all the same inside” seems accepting, it implies that our differences can be overlooked. Saying we’re all made of the same stuff is about assimilation, not celebration.

For those of you who celebrated #blackoutfriday, thank you—for your presence and your lesson. Let’s make it about seeing marginalized identities from the get-go. We shouldn’t have to step out from behind a curtain, and we shouldn’t have to prove we’re human.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Stuart Mcdonald