Is The Ugandan Knuckles Meme Racist?

Is The Ugandan Knuckles Meme Racist?

It might have a heavier cultural impact than you think.

2018 has been the start of some interesting memes so far including the dangerous tide pod challenge which has sparked some controversy, but one meme has sparked less controversy in journalistic media but more so in social media and that is the Ugandan Knuckles meme.

For those who are unfamiliar with this meme, Ugandan Knuckles is based off of a parody animation of Knuckles the Echidna from Sonic by YouTuber Gregzilla. Then Deviantartist tidestflyer created a 3-D animation version of Gregzilla’s parody animation. The animation was then reused by viewers of a Twitch streamer named Forsen who’s viewers often make flurries of Ugandan jokes and referencing Ugandan warriors on his steams, a lot of them referencing the movie "Who Killed Captain Alex" as well as the video created by Forsen "Zulul", a variation of the internet word “lul.” The video that popularized the meme was a twitch stream where people in VRchat trolled a people online while storming servers with their avatars as the 3-D animation of Knuckles, while making clicking noises and saying “Do you know the wey?” in exaggerated African accents. I have linked a video of FBE's video "Elder's React to Ugandan Knuckles" to help give a visual explanation. It can be viewed here.

Many people feel the meme is racist because it fits a narrow stereotype of Ugandan people. The meme dehumanizes the people of Uganda as people who click their tongues, a language based stereotype that is applied to a lot of African countries. The big issue people have is that the people who are doing it and have popularized it are white. The Twitch streamer is Swedish and most of his followers are from countries that are predominantly white.

However, there are some that feel the meme isn't racist at all and feel people are overreacting. They feel the meme is fine because it's referencing a movie. They feel it's fine because we've mocked stereotypes before from countries like France and Germany. Why is this any different? Another argument against is that Ugandans have seen these videos about this meme and have found it hilarious. Even the director of the movie gave the meme a stamp of approval. And one last argument for the meme: Uganda has so much more to worry about than a meme. Why would they be offended?

Here’s the thing. Uganda can't be simplified by what you see on the news. It can't be minimalized by the opinions of a couple people. It is an entire country with a rich culture. To assume that because a few people from Uganda were okay with the meme debunks decades of westerners mistreating this country and viewing people with dark skin as unhuman or low intelligence or tribal even is proof of ignorance.

And while sure, it's a movie reference, it's really not a matter of who or where it's from but rather how it's being depicted and why it's become so popular. Sure the famous line “Do you know deh wey” is from the movie, but is the clicking.

As far as stereotypes, French stereotypes and Ugandan stereotypes are apples and oranges, my friend. How the stereotypes affect the country isn't on the same level. If a French person is stereotyped, it's funny. Maybe a tourist goes to France and annoys everyone and the most that happens is the French people ignore him or tell him he is an idiot. If someone perpetuates a Ugandan or even just African stereotype because honestly that's what it is because while Africa is an entire continent, westerners throw it in one box, it adds to the horrible way Uganda is portrayed by the media and how people from African countries are treated by predominantly white countries.

As a White person and can't say whether or not something is racist or whether or not other people find it racist or offensive because I don't speak for them. I personally agree that this meme is racist and has a very racist origin. If you don't agree with me or don't know how you feel, I advise you to take the time and think about this meme and how it affects your society. While it might seem like just a silly meme, keep in mind memes are actually really important. They shape our society and tell a lot about us as a whole, about how our generation feels about an issue or how we feel about an event. It can also say a lot about how we feel socially and how we perceive others. What is this meme saying?

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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13 Quotes For All Of Us Empowered Female-Identifying People Out There

For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.


For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

1. Do you really need someone else's permission, acceptance, wink, or nod, or are you ready to give these to yourself? -The Universe

I get notes from the Universe everyday and all of them are so amazing and inspiring. There might be a few of them on this list. You can sign up for your own notes from the universe here.

2. The princess saves herself in this one. -Amanda Lovelace

The quote is based off a book called The Princess Saves Herself In This One, which is a collection of poetry about resilience, you can get the book here.

3. I'm made of more than you think. -Snow White, Mirror, Mirror

4. Other people's perception of you ain't none of your business. -Lisa Nichols


5. Do you realize how many events and choices that had to occur since the birth of the universe leading to the making of just exactly the way you are? -Mrs. Which, A Wrinkle In Time

I love this because it really hits home how so many right and wrong decisions led to the creation of you and how you should appreciate the good and the bad because without either of them you wouldn't be exactly who you were supposed to be.

6. You can't stop what's done to you. You can only survive it. -Rachel, Georgia Rule 

This brings up an important theme of my life that I'm still trying to figure out. The only thing you can control in your life is how you react to what happens to you.

7. Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. -Patrick Verona, 10 Things I Hate About You

8. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Queen Clarisse, The Princess Diaries

9. No trifling of the past, no matter how great, can tarnish the brilliance of eternity. -The Universe

10. People who are insignificant to your future shouldn't have an impact on your present.

Someone once told me this, and although I can't remember the person, this quote has always stuck with me.

11. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. -Lady Gaga

You know what... I think she was talking about you.

12. Tell yourself it's easy. Tell yourself often. Make it an affirmation. Eat, sleep, breathe it, and you life shall be transformed. -The Universe

13. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. -Mark Twain 

Go on then, be empowered and trust your instincts, you've got big things coming... I can tell.

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