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I too have mixed and conflicted feelings about all of these incidents and videos. The thing that universally stands out to me is a lack of empathy or ability to put oneself in the other person’s shoes. Perhaps BBQ Becky was motivated by concern for the environment, but she failed to consider that calling the police to deal with a group of black people is an often dangerous action (and is sometimes deadly), not to mention an overreaction. The TV show “Black-ish” had an excellent episode about the risks of calling the cops on POC.
Worst case scenario (with regard to giving the “Beckys” the benefit of the doubt) is that they were motivated by overt racism. Best case scenario is that they failed to see how their overreactions posed potential threats to others. And somewhere in between is the kind of subconscious racism and lack of awareness of privilege that these videos made me personally evaluate. That was what prompted my nomination.
Here’s to hoping that the 2019 Name Of The Year will be a unifying source of positive inspiration!
I propose BBQ Becky (and the various spinoffs like Permit Patty, Pool Patrol Paula, etc) for NOTY 2018. These names were made up and given to white women who called the police on African Americans who were living their lives in public. The use of alliteration in the names helped make the stories go viral. “Becky” was used deliberately for its meaning of “a white woman who is ignorant of both her privilege and her prejudice” (per Merriam-Webster blog post on the subject of BBQ Becky). The name Becky alone is probably more reminiscent of Beyoncé’s 2016 “Lemonade” but has made a comeback this year. In this age of racial violence where “Say his/her name” is an oft repeated chant to remember victims of police violence, this is the first time I can think of where a name (made up or not) has been used against people and their racist actions In order to draw attention to the issue.
The killing of the gorilla sparked animal rights outrage and then quickly became an internet meme. The name even touched on the election with posts of "Harambe for President."
Also, the name's meaning of "working together" or "pulling together" is a fitting sentiment given everything that has gone on in 2016.