• June 6, 2020
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On the fourth, after hearing the name ‘Sharkeisha’ in my third period, fourth period and on the bus, I just had to know what the chatter was all about. I had heard very little: some woman had punched someone, really hard. However, upon reflection, this should have disturbed me a little more than it actually did.

I say this as a result of a mildly traumatizing trip to Google. I started watching the video, and saw two high school girls, Sharkeisha and Shamichael Manuel.They were having what seemed to be a normal conversation, but soon enough, both Shamichael and I were shocked by an unforeseen sucker punch to the face, followed by a kick to the face whilst she was on the ground.

Violence is very prevalent in our world today, so the physical abuse didn’t shock me so much as the reactions of the peers did. However, the violence seen in this video was more relatable and therefore more disturbing. I then realized just how inappropriate the response, laughter and amusement, was.

The insensitivity we are known to have towards violence does not make my peers’ reactions any less shocking. I suppose this is a result of how close to us the situation seems to be. The assault of the fellow student could just as easily have happened to Leesville students; I found that to be a little off putting, but apparently my peers and much of the public didn’t.

The video has gone viral, receiving millions of views on World Star Hip Hop. It was reportedly posted by “friends” of the starring pair. Indeed, the bully and victim were said to be close friends until suspicion arose that the victim slept with Sharkeisha’s boyfriend.

That’s right: this vulgar confrontation was catalyzed by a boy. No offense fellas, but you are not worth extreme violence.

Here, in this situation, I can’t help but think that moral ideals have been crushed in several ways: Sharkeisha’s victim may or may not have gotten too close to a taken man, but that man was  (supposedly) just as guilty. Then Sharkeisha beat the victim, and the video has been mocked–the violence condoned and even glorified.

As I watch what seems to be a society that is disintegrating, “restoring faith in humanity” is a popular phrase in this digital age. This video only adds to the disgust we often feel as we all watch each other fall deeper into what appears to be a moral-less misery.

Marisa Mendez of inflexwetrust.com said in her post, “I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that people these days are putting moments of internet infamy above the safety or well-being of themselves and/or their peers, or the fact that websites are glorifying these moments by posting them.”

Demetria L. Lucas of theroot.com is also disgusted by the behavior of both the teens in the video and the public. She said in her post, “This isn’t funny. At all. It’s a vulgar display of violence, a tragic depiction of someone who lacks anger management and humanity and a shocking example of just how wayward some teens are. Sharkeisha’s reaction to a petty dispute over, likely, a boy who didn’t care about either of these girls is a clear-cut case of assault. This isn’t entertainment to get through the workday. The way that girl was kicked in the face could have resulted in her death.”

In fact, rumors of the victim’s suicide following the video swirled around the Internet. Thankfully Shamichael Manuel is still alive, but traumatized nonetheless. She, alongside her mother, faced a local ABC station in an interview stating, “I felt humiliated, embarrassed and hurt at the same time.”

Unfortunately, Manuel’s mother has also suffered from the video’s release. In the interview, she said, “The video’s just going, going, going. And they’re making jokes. They’re taunting. They’re glorifying the girl Sharkeisha, but they’re taunting my daughter at the same time.”

She also said, “I was in the grocery store yesterday, and the girl was checking out my groceries and the baggers were just laughing and talking about it. And I said that’s my daughter in that video and their whole facial expression changed.”

Yet again, humanity has managed to separate themselves from situations such as this. It is obvious from the reactions given in the market that these employees, these fellow citizens, did not have the empathy or sympathy to consider the reality: that then-nameless girl in the video is real.

Between mass shootings and the crazed actions of politicians, society as a whole has been getting a bad rap as of late. It takes this kind of video to prove it–possibly even prove the negative comments to be true. If we are to remain civilized, we should ignore videos that condone violence and apathy and try to make more “restoring faith in humanity” videos. I, for one, need it.

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