Earlier this month I was asked to write the post, “17 Reasons Honey Boo Boo is Better Than You.” I had never written a “Better Than You” post but I knew that they were some of the most controversial ones on our site. These articles aren’t meant to make readers feel bad about themselves, but rather they are meant to entertain in a tongue-in-cheek manner. I personally read them as a way to learn more about a particular person in a silly format.
There were a lot of comments calling Honey Boo Boo fat and ugly. One reader wrote, “There’s nothing better about this fat pile of horse sh**.” There was another reader who went through all 17 reasons listed in the article and gave his own opinion. Among his reasons for disliking Honey Boo Boo and her family, he repeatedly called her family “white trash.” Yet another commenter called her, “a little down-syndrome midget-looking kid.” The single user who liked Honey Boo Boo was called, “retarded” by another commenter. Someone else said that her mother, “needs to go kill herself and send the body to Ethiopia, they’ll be able to eat for years off that fat whale.” I’ll stop here but a lot of these negative comments were liked by other readers as well.
It’s one thing to attack an adult, but I think it more than crosses the line to write comments about a little girl. I get what some of the other commenters were saying about the sad fact that a lot of American TV consists of reality shows but attack that fact, not the little girl herself. She is only a kid! I know that since she is a public figure people feel that it’s okay to say whatever they want, but I think there’s a difference between freedom of speech and poor taste. Saying that she’s mentally handicapped and fat doesn’t constructively criticize the show, it just offends a large number of people and pokes fun at a group that can’t defend themselves. Calling the family “white trash” isn’t alright either. All people have intrinsic value and calling them “trash” strips that away. And quite frankly, that term is classist.
You can only call someone white trash if you believe that you’re above them. Sure, I don’t agree with everything Honey Boo Boo’s mother does or how she raises her child, but I’m coming from a different family culture and perspective. Their life is different than mine and that’s what makes it fun to watch. And isn’t calling someone “white trash” racist? Why is that okay? I’ll answer my own question — it’s not. And suggesting that someone should kill themselves certainly isn’t right either.
I know that this article won’t get a third of the views that the original one did but I had to say something. I just hope that this will get people to think about what they write before they post it. It’s fine not to like something but let’s aim for an open, hostility-free environment when it comes to differing opinions.