Carrying out the “Milk Crate Challenge” is more revealing of finances than of intellect – The Quinnipiac Chronicle

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Privilege.

This buzzword often describes the unseen perks we have in one form or another. This nine-letter word is also known for its power to block us from seeing the perspective of others, thus strengthening our narrow-mindedness.

The daily challenge we face is letting go of our comfortable assumptions so that we can understand the perspective of others, even when it comes to viral trends.

Illustration by Lindsey Komson

The “Milk Crate Challenge” is a more recent trend to explode social media. The challenge features people temporarily walking on a pyramid of unstable milk crates several meters in the air. One of two things happens in these clips: either the participant finishes the walk safely and passes to the other side, or they experience a painful and embarrassing dive. Most often, the latter occurs, which is a component that greatly contributes to the popularity of the challenge. Laughing at the expense of people is an almost universal pastime.

These videos racked up millions of views on social media and were prevalent on TikTok. The app then made the decision to ban these videos because it was not aligned with its community guidelines that discourage content that “promotes or glorifies dangerous acts,” according to a company spokesperson.

After laughing at these videos, we say we would never do that. Then we ridicule those participants in the comments section or in real life for submitting to an exertion that will likely result in a hospital visit. People who fell suffered serious injuries ranging from shoulder dislocations and meniscus tears to broken wrists and even spinal cord injuries.

The best way to insult the participant is to make fun of their intelligence, because only “someone stupid” would step on crates. Celebrated sports commentator Stephen A. Smith served as guest host on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on August 23 and said on the subject: “I challenge anyone – anyone on Earth – to find stupider people than these people. “

An answer like this is common, even among healthcare professionals. Henry Schuitema, chief of emergency medicine at Jefferson Health in New Jersey, told the Washington Post, “So many of these injuries that we see are preventable just by being smart.

On the surface, putting yourself at unnecessary risk shouldn’t protect anyone from online criticism and jokes. However, it seems odd that the discourse has mostly focused on attacking people’s intellect when there are many other dangerous acts that are acceptable enough that participants are absolved of the guarantee of their stupidity.

If the people who do dangerous things are all dumb, what about those who climb without a rope or harness? What about the running of the bulls? More than 200 people are injured each year during the activity of the Spanish festival in their attempt to flee several rampaging cattle. What about BASE jumping, the most dangerous version of skydiving? Instead of jumping from a plane, a person jumps from a fixed location, such as a building or a cliff, to a lower altitude with less time to descend safely using a parachute.

These dangerous activities are not exact comparisons to the challenge of the cash register, but the point is, they are extremely more dangerous. However, you can easily find stories about each business without being inundated with writers and commentators claiming that everyone involved is jerk.

While it’s easy to find stories about how dangerous these activities are, it’s just as easy to find articles that explain without judgment why people care about these things, like how CNN explained BASE jumping. One of the only videos that offers a new perspective on the “Milk Crate Challenge” is an IGTV video by activist and life coach Justin Blu.

One reality that cannot be forgotten is that the majority of the people seen in these videos climbing checkouts or watching are black, which is probably why it is easy to call these people fools and a disinterest in finding out what could be causing the problems. people. to do this. If the majority of videos of people practicing this dangerous tendency were white, would the same assumption of idiocy be applied as widely as it has been for blacks? Knowing the history of racism embedded in the fabric of this country, probably not.

Now, let’s do the hard work of seriously considering the checkout challenge through the perspective of the participants.

The origins of this challenge are unclear, but according to Know Your Meme, we do know that a clip from June 2011 titled “Guy Falls Off 6 Milk Crates” showed someone doing a variation of this challenge. The first official version of this challenge arrived last month from black male participants who posted it on Facebook. Now why would anyone suddenly decide to make this game?

Ask yourself, what do you do for fun when you don’t have a Playstation or when you don’t have streaming or cable services? What to do when you don’t have the money to go shopping or when you can’t afford to travel?

If you are missing out on many entertainment outlets and have little disposable income due to systemic limitations on your opportunities to build wealth, is it so shocking that you can resort to a business that is both dangerous and exciting? It must be recognized that the options we have for recreation are often indicative of our level of disposable income, resources and socioeconomic status.

From a privileged financial position, the “Milk Crate Challenge” is seen as a ridiculous game for idiots. But through the prism of the people of these communities, this game is apropos. The Challenge is an inexpensive yet innovative way to get preoccupied in a community bonding affair where you feel the suspense of watching someone accomplish a feat that could end in adulation or agony. How is it different from watching someone walk a tightrope?

Also, imagine if people in these circumstances are offered money to successfully climb crates. Well, in Akron, Ohio, a prize of $ 500 was offered to anyone who could successfully climb the crates. It may not sound like a lot, but in a city like Akron where one in 4.2 people live in poverty, according to Welfareinfo.org, taking on this challenge is well worth it.

To be clear, the “Milk Crate Challenge” is dangerous and should be discouraged. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every person who does this is poor – it has gained enough popularity that the well-to-do opinion seekers have, too. However, it is wrong to ignore that there is real reasoning as to why some people will resort to this activity. It is also wrong and lazy to stupidly call predominantly black challengers out of the crates.

Having stopped our laughs and jokes, is it too idealistic to focus more on creating a fairer, more open-minded society where people don’t have to start cranking up money for whatever reason? ? And if they do, can we refrain from repudiating their intelligence to the highest degree?

I don’t think so, but obviously that’s a minority opinion.


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