Justice

Here's What the World Would Look Like Without Black People

February 11th 2016

By:
Taylor Bell

No hip-hop. No jazz. No R&B. No Beyonce. The world be drastically different without Black people.

These observations were shared in the video “World Without Black people,” which was created by filmmaker Eric I. Lu. In it, Liu and his partners interview people of different ethnicities from Boston to Los Angeles about what the world would look like if Black people didn't exist.

The video is one of many created by the Jubliee Project — a creative collective that makes short films, PSAs, and documentaries in collaboration with non-profits to increase awareness and inspire action. The Jubliee Project said they created the video to spark an honest discussion about one of society's most "polarizing" and "nuanced" issues — race.

They explained on their YouTube channel:

"We are proud to share with you 'World Without Black People', a glimpse into the conversation that we had about race and what it is like to be a Black person living in America. We made this video to share these stories, stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters, and challenge you to have a similar conversation of your own. We made this video because #BlackLivesMatter." — The Jubilee Project

In the video, people were a bit uncomfortable, but they eventually opened up.

They shared observations like...

...and

But Love For Black Culture Doesn't Always Translate to Love for Black People

While hip-hop is the most listened to genre in the world, 82 percent of black people feel that they face the most discrimination, followed by 71 percent of Hispanics, according to the Washington Post.

The idea that people can claim to love someone's culture, but still discriminate against the people who create it, has led to a growing conversation about issues of cultural appropriation.

In an interview with New York radio station Hot 97, rapper Azealia Banks criticized white Australian rapper Iggy Azalea for appropriating black music for her own ends, or as she called it, "a cultural smudging."

Azealia Banks Hot 97

“I feel just like in this country whenever it comes to our things, like black issues or black politics or black music or whatever, there’s this undercurrent of kinda like a ‘fuck you’.” —Azealia Banks

And during the time of the Ferguson protests, Banks had more harsh words for the Aussie.

Actress and "Hunger Games" star Amandla Stenberg talked about this problem in her vlog called "Don't Crash Crop On My Cornrows."

"The line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange is always going to be blurred, but here's the thing—appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations and stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high fashion or cool or funny when the privilege take it for themselves. Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the significance of the culture they are partaking in. — Amandla Stenberg

The solution?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. But one woman in the video offered this suggestion:

But the conversation about race didn't stop there. In the video people admitted that racism is embedded in society.

"It's in me," one Asian man said in the video. "And as much as I want to say that right answer—and I know it's wrong—it's there."

"We know that we have these snap judgments about people--and I have them too," one white man said. "I can't really help it. I do my best to try and recognize when that's happening, try to fight it, try to talk about it."

Conversations about race are difficult, but important. As one woman said:

ATTN: reached out to the Jubliee Project for comment but did receive a response in time for publication.