“White people, we need to change the way we address these issues,” Austin Null says soberly addressing the audience at large, beyond his camera, speaking on the issue of racial discrimination. And you know what? He’s right.
Null, the patriarch of The Nive Nulls, a popular interracial YouTube group/family, perhaps has a more nuanced perspective of race relations than many white people in America. His wife is black, his kids are half black and he grew up embraced by black culture. The bottom line: Austin at least has a requisite comprehension to begin an educated discussion on race relations. The key word there is educated, haters.
Null cites the controversial McKinney video specifically as the subject of his teachable moment — it’s the one where a bunch of black kids at a pool party are profiled by police and a young black girl is thrown brutishly to the ground. It’s sad that I have to explain which one it is (and that I had to reference it to make sure I had the CORRECT “black people unfairly being assaulted by police” video).
A step in the right direction, says Nulls, is that we stop being guilty and effecting our natural inclination towards white privilege. That is to say, stop denying that there is a racial bias out there.
As for the actual context of his argument, you should watch the video — it’s a good one that makes a solid point. It’s also a controversial comment for him to make, which I am most excited about.
I don’t mean that I am just excited for controversy — no, what I am referencing is the excitement of a YouTuber using his platform to invoke social discussion. See, YouTube became broken when money got involved. I also don’t mean to pull focus from Austin’s salient point, but this is a fantastic opportunity to rant about the homogenization of YouTube at large.
What makes YouTube special is that it is a soapbox for our generation. YouTube connects passionate thinkers with an audience. And as YouTube grows in popularity, those ideas get corrupted by the influence of brand deals and advertising money. You can get rich on YouTube — as long as you aren’t too controversial, too outside the box.
And YouTube has suffered because of it. Gone is the outré, the inappropriateness, the danger. High profile YouTubers seldom offer bold opinions anymore because there is too much at stake for them financially. Instead, they meekly posit a question to the fans if they want to talk about something like racial discrimination and they aren’t considered the “appropriate color” to do so. This video from Austin takes a stand — which is a really admirable thing to do. (“Even if he goes a little heavy on the Jesus stuff at the end,” Jeff mutters)
You might not agree with Austin’s statements or thoughts but you have to endorse him taking a stand and making them public. If anything effectively kills YouTube, it will be because the raw voices of our generation sold out and started making safe content.
Null poses a challenge to his viewers — go to a minority friend and ask them about the racism or biases they have encountered personally and determine with them how you can be more culturally aware. I have a challenge of my own for YouTubers — start being more like Austin Null. Be brave enough to share your opinion — that’s how we can start the discussions that will truly change the world.