College sucks. I didn't enjoy it, I look back on it with disdain, and I would rather eat glass than go back. This has pretty much always been the case unless you're straight, white, and usually male, so I'm not really treading new ground with these remarks.
But I have the unique (dis)pleasure of having gone to college from 2012-2017, when the internet basically became its most unhinged, racist, and "anti-woke." Although of course, back then, the term that got bandied about was "SJW." The more things change...
I bring all this up because iDubbbz, one of the premier YouTube edgelords of the 2010s, recently released an apology video about how terrible his content was.
If you don't remember or don't know iDubbbz, he created the extremely popular "Content Cop" video series from 2015 to about 2018. How popular? His Keemstar Content Cop video is currently sitting at 33 million views.
At the start of that video, he shouts the N word 3 times in approximately 15 seconds.
Yeah, that was the internet only a few years ago. To be honest, the callouts he made were generally pretty on-point: the people he clowned on deserved it. But the way he went about it was so "edgy" and harassment-filled that it got lost in the sauce, especially looking at it retrospectively. And I put "edgy" in quotations because the reality is that the word doesn't do his videos justice. They were cruel, and harmful. And I know this because I was directly affected by it.
In my graduating college class, I was one of 52 Black students out of 6300. It's really hard to explain to you how painful those years were as a minority, especially when it was capped off with Trump's election. In that time I sat in classrooms where students were more than willing to tell me about how - and these are all real quotes - "Black people are scientifically less intelligent than White people," or that "Black people are dumb because they listen to hip-hop" or how I "shouldn't get upset about someone spray-painting the N-word on a bathroom wall because it's just a word." The only good thing that college did was make me the militant, intersectional leftist I am today, lol.
That last quote, though, is probably the most important, because I believe that of all the racism I experienced at my university, that one can be most directly traced back to the content iDubbbz was putting out on YouTube. Content that YouTube was more than happy to keep on its platform. There are so many videos where this dude literally goes on and on and on about why it's okay to say slurs, and those talking points were parroted to me near verbatim in half of the classes I took, even when the work we were doing had no fucking relation to it. I was defending Black Lives Matter in my CompSci classes folks. It was not great.
It was more than not great. It was traumatizing and I should probably get therapy for it. Maybe now I'm out of Grad School 🎉 I can do that.
Anyways now, 6 years later, iDubbbz has decided to apologize.
It's a good apology video to be honest! Not that the bar's very high. But he explicitly details the impact he had on minorities, takes direct action by monetizing the video for charity, and seems to genuinely feel regret for what he did. Solid apology all around.
And I don't accept it!
I think it's important to say this because after this video came out, I've seen tons and tons of discourse about how we need to praise iDubbbz for apologizing six years after the last content cop. And that's just...absurd.
The first reason I don't accept iDubbbz's apology is because I don't plan on ever giving kudos to a white guy realizing that racism is bad at the young, crisp age of...let's see here...32!?
Now I'm no mathematician, but homie was yelling the N word when he was 25 and thought it was okay. iDubbbz was the start of the alt-right pipeline for so many people, as well as a direct impact on my negative mental health when I was in college. He will not be getting my flowers, sorry.
I don't bring all this up to rub it in the dude's face. Like I said, it's a solid apology. But I feel like so many content creators are accepting his apology on the behalf of minorities, and that irritates me. Or in worse cases, outright telling him he doesn't need to apologize at all, as the King of Fence Sitting, Penguinz0.
I believe that people do deserve the opportunity to change themselves for the better. But you can't demand that people affected by you for years turn around and praise you, or even forgive you for it. That's never the point of an apology! It may suck that you're going through that, but it's the reality and consequence of thinking it's okay to say slurs. No one is entitled to spaces or appreciation for your personal betterment. That's a choice for those who occupy those spaces and who have been affected by your shit rhetoric. I encourage people like Ian to legitimately try and seek betterment, but I don't have to be friendly with him either - which he doesn't have to worry about, because we will both die having never crossed paths.
A larger point I want to make for people who insist I accept iDubbbz's apology is that quite often, former bigots only understand bigotry from the point of view of the bigot. They have a heightened capacity to sympathize with bigots, and a diminished capacity to reckon with the harm done to the victims of bigots. Because they need to believe above all else that bigots are misunderstood and redeemable, at any cost.
So. Yeah, I dunno. Of course, I'm only speaking for myself. If you were personally impacted by iDubbbz's content and accept his apology, great! I'm happy that's the case. I don't plan on watching his content any time soon, but at least we can all close what I consider to be one of the internet's most shameful chapters.
Uh, unless Joji says something I guess.