TikTok's crying trend is getting backlash for being potentially harmful to Black people

17 June 2021, 12:10

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

"The way white women weaponise their tears is the scariest, most dangerous thing ever."

A new TikTok trend that involves white women fake crying is receiving backlash.

The trend, which is thought to have started in June, involves the participant fake crying to camera before the sound says "Turn it off" and the person then suddenly stops crying and flashes a chilling smile.

Although the trend (which is sometimes called the 'Turn It Off Challenge' or 'Turn It Off Acting Challenge') started out innocently to show off the user's acting skills it has triggered the painful discussion of how white women have a history of weaponising their tears, which has ultimately caused harm to Black people.

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People are calling out TikTok's crying trend which involves white women fake crying
People are calling out TikTok's crying trend which involves white women fake crying. Picture: @hannahstocking via TikTok

For example, the story of Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman. The woman later confessed that Emmett, who was only 14 at the time of his death, never actually did anything to her. And more recently, in May 2020, Amy Cooper put a Black man named Christian Cooper's life in danger after he simply told her to put a leash on her dog while he was bird watching in Central Park. She told him: "I'm taking a picture and calling the cops. I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life." Amy has since been fired from her job.

In a TikTok video, Imani Barbarin – who is a Black disability advocate – explained how the trend could be considered problematic: "We know under a system of white supremacy who is the most dangerous. This is not a trend. Look under the sound. This is not a trend, this is just our lives."

In a second video, she continued: "What's striking about this challenge and why so many Black and people of colour are really alarmed by it is that this is how we see white women every single day. Regular t-shirts, regular outfits, regular everything and that's exactly what it scares us because we could come across any one of these women any single day."

The potentially harmful TikTok crying trend has now become a huge topic on social media.

What do you think of the trend? Tweet us @popbuzz and let us know!