Is it ever necessary to label ourselves? Is it ever ok to label anyone else? Not according to internet celebrity and spoken-word poet, Prince Ea, whose viral video entitled “I Am Not Black, You Are Not White” claims that labels are the root of all social ills and that our identity is entirely separate from our physical reality. The video has reached over 100 million views on Facebook and over 11 million views on Youtube with an overwhelming approval rating (300 to 1 like to dislike ratio). The most liked comment on Youtube reads, “They showed this to us in school.” In this episode of The Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron critiques each segment of the argument posed by the young poet and explains the philosophical history behind this radical, yet widely accepted argument. The listener question asks for a book suggestion that encourages teens to return to the Church.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  – Introduction, Bishop Barron’s recent happenings
  • 1:58 – Segment 1: “Our bodies are just cars”, Bishop’s response
  • 6:18 – What are some of the dangers of bifurcating our selves and our bodies?
  • 7:40 – Segment 2: “Who we truly are is found inside”, Bishop’s response
  • 11:50 – What is the difference with the Catholic perspective on bodies and labels?
  • 15:10 – Segment 3: “Every war has started over labels”, Bishop’s response
  • 18:15 – How are labels used in the book of Genesis?
  • 21:30 – Segment 4: “Until we stop thinking so small we won’t be free to see each other as we truly are”, Bishop’s response
  • 26:39 – Listener Question: What book would Bishop recommend to bring teens back into the Church?

Bonus Resources


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3 comments on “WOF 065: Viral Videos and Labels

  1. Eunice Kim Mar 9, 2017

    The link for lent reflections on this site seems to be wrong? I assume it’s this:

    Thank you.

  2. Bishop Barron,
    Hello, my husband and I teach 7th grade formation at our church. We’re both 55 years old, and didn’t attend Catholic schools growing up. I listened to Podcast 65 regarding Prince Ea’s viral video, and while I can totally understand your points, I have to say that I feel like I’m one of the millions, in that if I had listened to that I would have been nodding my head and heart to “trying to foment greater love and connection and trying to overcome prejudice”. Frankly, even after listening the second time to take notes, I could not make and support all of the arguments that you have made.
    I’m writing to you because on the very day that I heard this podcast, my hairdresser, who is Catholic and attends my church, told me her daughter “accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Saviour” at a popular mega church in our area. While I’m all for kids growing closer to Jesus however that comes about, I felt like I got a sucker punch when she said that her daughter was a 7th grader, but just couldn’t get anything out of our church and our formation program so she didn’t sign up this year. You talk about how we are losing so many current Catholics, I’m wondering what the solution is. I’m feeling pretty inadequate to be teaching right now. I’d say none of the 12 kids in my class wants to be there, and about half are pretty hard to control—for that very reason. I’ve heard you tell about how kids know all about Star Wars and how we should expect them to learn our Faith…but being in 7th grade formation following the book your parish picked out with volunteer teachers for 1 hour each week feels pretty different from Star Wars. Your thoughts?

  3. Iris Soto Apr 4, 2017

    Loved the critical thinking and the philosophical approach but I do think the reality of this young man as an African American is not taken to account when discussing his video. I understand that we should also consider what has made him think this way, what are his experiences?