Opinion | TikTok street interviews are on thin ice

By Matthew Lozano, Columnist

Street interviews have recently made their mark as a staple form of entertainment on TikTok. From asking people about their salaries and jobs to the infamous “gay son or thot daughter” question, it’s not hard to distinguish the interviewers with good intentions, and those who would do whatever it takes to blow up overnight.

And as more creators realize that all they need is a smartphone and a little bit of audacity to become an interviewer, the question comes up: How far is too far? 

A popular trend that recently arose through street interviews is “take it or double it,” where the interviewer has an item they will offer to an interviewee. The respondent will then have the chance to either take the item or let the interviewer double the quantity of the item and move on to another person. 

Especially since creators can give a lot of money through these kinds of interviews, they can immediately be seen in a positive light. But in the instance where food is offered instead of money, harassment occurs.

Many people come forth with stories of being on the receiving end of the “take it or double it” interviews and being harassed and bullied for taking the usually large amounts of food. 

Individuals who have larger bodies allegedly report that the creator will tell them to take the food without even asking the question, resulting in an influx of unforeseen comments about the interviewee’s weight. 

Another type of street interview involves trivia, where the creator will ask the interviewee basic trivia questions. Simple enough, right?

Wrong. People have additionally made claims that creators ask them easy, straightforward questions, but will then edit the video to make it seem like they responded incorrectly. 

And although this is arguably less harmful than the previous example, the principle of intentionally skewing an interviewee’s response can have larger implications if the interviewer does the same thing for more serious conversations. 

And of course, you cannot forget the age-old “gay son or thot daughter” question, which implores someone to decide if they would rather have a gay son or a daughter who is a “thot,” which is a derogatory term for a woman who sleeps with numerous partners. 

If it is implied the most challenging choice a parent has to make is choosing between those two options, negative connotations are immediately reinforced with homosexuality and sexually active women.

If you want examples of the creators who do it right — where doing it right means not being deceitful or bigoted — look no further than Salary Transparent Street and Chris Klemens.

Salary Transparent Street is a street interview account on TikTok, where interviewers will ask random people about their salaries and other information regarding their careers. Their account offers a lot of insightful information that can help viewers understand different professions, as interviewees usually give helpful and honest tips regarding their career paths.

Another creator who takes a more comedic approach to the street interview style of content is Chris Klemens. His content consists of asking people funny, lighthearted questions without the deceptive and petty tactics the accounts mentioned earlier use.

Knowing the difference between harmful and respectable media is becoming more challenging as new styles of displaying entertainment arise. With that, I urge you to pay close attention to the malicious content creators, and more importantly, call them out on their nonsense whenever it pops up on your feed.

 

Matthew is a sophomore in LAS.

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