The title of this blog almost seems like an oxymoron, right? But I’m not talking about poetry that goes viral like Kristen Stewart’s poem did when she published it Marie Claire. No, I’m talking about poets that have videos posted on Youtube or their poetry shared on Twitter and suddenly, they’re being reposted all over the internet.
Recently, a poem by a 14 year old for class went viral. It’s appeared on all over Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and has over 11K shares on the Independent.oc.uk. The poem, titled Our Generation, reads as follows:
Our generation will be known for nothing.
Never will anybody say,
We were the peak of mankind.
That is wrong, the truth is
Our generation was a failure.
We actually succeeded
Is a waste. And we know
Living only for money and power
Is the way to go.
Being loving, respectful, and kind
Is a dumb thing to do.
Forgetting about time,
Will not be easy, but we will try.
Changing our world for the better
Is something we never did.
Was how we handled our problems.
Was a joke.
We knew that
People thought we couldn’t come back
That might be true,
Unless we turn things around
(Read from bottom to top now)
The second piece of poetry that’s gone viral lately is a poem titled What Kind of Asian Are You? by Alex Dang. This piece has only a few thousand likes on Youtube, but the UpWorthy article talking about the context of the video has over 39K shares on Facebook alone.
The question remains, why do these things go viral?
Both of these piece call into question the stereotyping of others, one for being part of the younger generation, and the other for race. Both of these authors confront the marginilization of humanity into one group, such as all Asians being of the same heritage or that kids these days will not contribute to the future because of a lack of effort.
There are times when we all feel marginalized, and, sadly more often than should be happening, we have all been faced with an ugly stereotype pertaining to some aspect of ourselves. Almost everyone can relate to being told they’re a “dumb kid” and that they’ll “understand” what’s really going on when they grow up. Fuck that. Kids don’t lack understanding just because their opinion differs from that of adults.
I’m not any Asian race, but I can understand what it feels like for people to make assumptions about you based on the way you look—hell, I think we’d all be hard pressed to say that we haven’t. The way the author shines a light on the racist undertones within the poem What Kind of Asian Are You? definitely adds a deeper dimension to the tensions at play with stereotyping based on physical appearance.
These poems went viral because they echo a human experience many can relate to—being marginalized based on age or race. Until we live in a perfect world where agism and racism don’t exist, we won’t be seeing touching, viral poetic pieces going away anytime soon.