This Article Is Problematic

Rani Hamilton, Staff Writer

“Is [insert celebrity name here] problematic?” is the phrase you’re prone to seeing whenever you’re using the internet. As a frequent user of the internet, I can say I see this posted at least 5 times a day, and it gets old after a while.

Social media such as Twitter and Tumblr (especially Tumblr) have developed a tendency to use the word “problematic” more often than needed. Whether it’s a celebrity’s tweet from 2011, or a newly uploaded YouTube video, if it falls under the problematic category, it is bound to be called out. And never left alone.

Problematic means an action that presents some type of problem. Its overuse has turned the word itself into a meme on the internet over the past year, people calling the smallest things problematic. I’m extremely guilty of this, commonly telling people they’re problematic if they don’t whip or if they call a dog ugly. It’s impossible to take problematic actions as serious anymore, because as commonly as the word is used now, it has close to no meaning.

Most of us have done something problematic in our lifetime, whether we remember it or not. We probably called someone fat as a child, simply because we didn’t know it was wrong. It’s just a matter of maturing and learning. Unfortunately, some people carry on these ignorant thoughts into their teenage and adult years. There are plenty of tumblrs that will tell you about every problematic thing any celebrity ever has ever done.

Should we acknowledge problematic things? Of course we should. If my favorite singer has ever done something to hurt or offend someone, I want to know about it. You can’t cover up what they’ve done and pretend it never happened, because no matter how many times you say how perfectly innocent they are, it’s not true. Defending extremely offensive actions just makes the situation worse on the person’s side and your own side.

For some reason, I personally tend to like the most problematic people. Kim Namjoon from the Korean pop group BTS, who’s well known for being problematic, is one of my favorite people in the world. He’s a great leader, rapper, songwriter and supports equal rights. But he also has a history of appropriating culture and saying offensive things (you would think with an IQ of 148, he would be smarter than that). This has caused Namjoon to be hated by an adequate amount of BTS fans, despite the hard work he puts in towards the music they release.

Fans have every right to be upset about these incidents because he was definitely in the wrong, but should they really be attacking him for things that happened 3 years ago? We all have to move on. These things certainly shouldn’t be forgotten about, but you can’t hold them against people forever. Plus, is constantly calling out the same exact thing really that entertaining? Isn’t there something more important than when a celebrity used the r-slur in 2011?

As unfortunate as it is, some people don’t really care if they’ve offended someone. If they don’t address the situation soon after it happens, they mostly likely don’t care and never will address it.

There are hundreds of different people on the internet, and unfortunately some of them can’t leave things behind and let people live. Yes, problematic incidents should always be called out and acknowledged. It’s always better to attempt having a problematic action acknowledged by the person who did it rather than never bring it up and have them do it again, just to offend more people.

We should leave things in the past after a while though, because eventually, they’ll have to mean nothing. Think about it. How are you supposed to stop people from being extremely offensive when your goal just becomes one huge joke?