Things That Matter

Lizzie Velasquez Calls Out Mother Who Used Her Image To Scare Son During TikTok Challenge

Lizzie Velasquez is no stranger to bullying. The anti-bullying activist has been relentlessly bullied on social media and a TikTok trend brought it all back. The “FaceTime Prank” is already showing how hurtful people are online and Velasquez was once again bullied thanks to this trend.

The “FaceTime Prank” trend on TikTok is revealing the worst of humanity.

Lizzie Velasquez is a well-known anti-bullying activist. Her work has taken her around the world as she has spoken to politicians about the dangers of bullying. In a post to Instagram, Velasquez admits that she saw this coming when the trend started to pick up steam. Mainly because she knows that some adults still aren’t strong or reasonable enough to realize how hurtful they are.

Velasquez is calling for TikTok to do better in making sure this kind of bullying doesn’t grow on it’s platform.

In a video, Velasquez is calling out not just the people participating, but the platform that is letting this circulate. TikTok is a growing, albeit potentially canceled, social media platform. The video showing a child’s scared reaction to Velasquez is part of a larger problem of bullying on social media.

People are ready to stand up for Velasquez.

It is just common courtesy not to make fun of people and their physical appearance. It is something that good parents teach their children. Velasquez called on basic human decency when it comes to the challenge that has led to people being made fun of for their physical appearances and disabilities.

People are surrounding her with love.

Velasquez has long used her own experiences with bullying to fight against bullying. The activist is no stranger to being the butt of people’s jokes but it doesn’t make it any easier. Her strength has made people feel seen in their own journeys to empowerment.

People are just furious that people are so shallow that Velasquez could be the butt of the joke.

Lizzie Velasquez has become a beacon of hope in the fight against bullying. She has stood before Congress and spoke to them about the importance of fighting against bullying. Her latest moment of calling attention to unchecked bullying in a public realm is just part of her longlasting legacy standing up to hate.

Thank you, Lizzie.

READ: People Said A Writer Was Too Ugly To Take Selfies And Now She’s Getting Support From Twitter, News Outlets, And Even Brazil

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This TikTok User Went Viral For Making a Video About What a Latino Character in the Harry Potter Universe Would Look Like

Entertainment

This TikTok User Went Viral For Making a Video About What a Latino Character in the Harry Potter Universe Would Look Like

Recently, a TikTok video went viral for spoofing what a Latino character would look like if he or she were written by JK Rowling. 

The minute-long video, entitled “If JK Rowling wrote a Latino character”, was created by TikTok user @Munchy_Monk, who also goes by the name “Louie”.

The video (which has now been viewed over 2 million times), starts with Munchy_Monk reading a “script” that JK Rowling sent him.

“Um, Ms. Rowling, I’m not really sure about this character,” he says, his voice full of trepidation. In the video, the imaginary “Ms. Rowling” responds by telling him to “read the bloody script before I call immigration.”

The video continues to be more outrageous from there. His tongue firmly in his cheek, Munchy_Monk runs through the gambit of stereotypes that the media typically portrays Latinos as doing.

With an exaggerated semi-Spanish-sounding accent (one that is all-too familiar for people who watch TV), the TikTok star pretends to be a gardener (“I’m-gardening-leviosa”), a line-cook (“Accio tacos and burritos!”), and a trouble-making student (“I ain’t take no potions. I ain’t even in potions class, foo.”). 

The video is also littered with punny jokes that play on Rowling’s whimsical word-choice. For example, Munchy_Monk pronounces the spell “stupify” as “estupify” and claims he comes from the Hogwarts house “Gryffindor-a the Explor-a”. 

via munchy_monks/TikTok

The TikTok video perfectly illustrates the way Rowling has depicted BIPOC characters in the past, as well as how the media generally portrays characters who have identities outside of what the media considers to be “standard” (i.e. white and straight). 

For a few years now, there have been subsets of the internet who have taken issue with Rowling’s portrayals of BIPOC and queer characters in the the Harry Potter universe. Many consider these characters to be tokenized depictions of what real non-white, non-straight people are actually like. 

Some fans have also grown frustrated to her public statement about Harry Potter characters–specifically how she publicly and retroactively “changedtheir backstories to “gain inclusivity points” without doing the the more meaningful work of writing inclusive characters in the first place. 

Although some fans celebrate Rowling’s fluid approach to the culture and identity of her characters, some claim that the post-publication changes feel inauthentic.

“The problem is we never see those elements of characterisation in the books themselves,” writer Kayleigh Anne wrote in The Independent. “The faith, race and sexuality of her characters has been shoe-horned in retroactively, and it can’t help but ring hollow.”

Of course, the icing on the problematic cake has been the recent transphobic comments and forthcoming book JK Rowling has made about and against trans people. All of these circumstances put into question JK Rowling’s status as an ally to queer and BIPOC people–if she ever was one in the first place.

But one thing is worth admitting: all of the above make Munchy_Monk’s TikTok video especially poignant and darkly hilarious.

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The Trump Administration Just Announced That They’re Banning TikTok Downloads Starting on Sunday

Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Just Announced That They’re Banning TikTok Downloads Starting on Sunday

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that it would be blocking future downloads of social media app TikTok starting on midnight on Sunday.

“At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

The Trump Administraiton is also taking action against the popular messaging and payment app WeChat, banning American companies from hosting the app’s internet traffic or processing transactions for the app (one of its key features).

Both TikTok and WeChat are the two most popular tech exports from China.

via Getty Images

TikTok is a popular video-sharing platform that allows users to share 15-second videos of themselves dancing and lip-syncing to popular music (among other things). The app recently exploded in popularity, racking up 99.8 million downloads in the first six months of 2020.

TikTok and WeChat have both been recent targets of the Trump administration due to their data-collection practices.

TikTok, specifically, has recently come under fire for violating Google privacy policies. TikTok collects and documents massive amounts of data from their users, like videos watched and commented on, location data, device type, and copy-and-paste “clipboard” contents. The app even records people’s keystroke rhythms as they type.

The Trump Administration has long been suspicious of TikTok’s data-collection, speculating that TikTok might be sending the data to the Chinese government.

The Trump administration has argued that such massive amounts of data in the hands of a foreign government is a threat to national security. TikTok denies that they are handing over the data to the Chinese government.

TikTok, for their part, are not hiding their displeasure about the ban, releasing a public statement saying: “We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.”

This isn’t the first time TikTok has gone toe-to-toe with the Trump administration. The social media company sued the administration in August after Trump signed an executive order enacting broad sanctions against the app. TikTok claimed that the order denied the company of due process.

The TikTok ban is making waves because it marks the first time the U.S. has banned a tech app on the basis of national security concerns.

But some critics are saying that there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason behind the ban. “It just feels to me to be improvisational,” said cyber-security expert Adam Segal.

Both TikTok users and concerned Americans have taken to the internet to express their anger at the Trump administration’s decision.

“Don’t be mistaken folks,” said one Twitter user. “Sunday it will be TikTok. Tomorrow it will be twitter, FB, Instagram…you name it…We must protect free speech!”

Another pointed out the hypocrisy of Trump targeting China when he doesn’t seem to be as concerned about Russia meddling in our internet affairs. “I live in a world where TikTok is a threat to national security but Russian interference in our elections is not,” she said. “This is Trump’s America.”

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