Antoine Dodson of Huntsville, Alabama became an overnight Internet sensation when a local news station interviewed him after a man broke into his sister’s apartment and tried to rape her. Dodson’s thoughts on why the intruder should watch his back, delivered with flamboyant commentary, made the rounds on the Internet and quickly turned into a song. To date, the song has been downloaded 30,000 times, and the video viewed over 13 million times. Some have accused Dodson of falling into a trap of “modern minstrelsy” and making Black folks look bad. “Lord, Jeses, how can the reporter file this story with a straight face?” wrote bloggers at AverageBro.com. The TV station that initially aired the story got angry emails and phone calls from viewers who accused them of relying on old stereotypes of poor Black people. “Some have contacted our newsroom saying that interviews with people like Antoine reflect poorly on the community. To that I say censoring people like Antoine is far worse,” responded reporter Elizabeth Gentle. This week, the “Today” show asked whether we’re in fact laughing with Antoine, or at him. What do you think?
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