White people who post memes featuring black people may be guilty of “digital blackface,” according to a senior writer at CNN. Her CNN senior writer, who warned against the phenomenon, describes it as one of “the most insidious forms of modern racism,” he said.
on CNN on Sunday editorial Entitled “What is ‘digital blackface’?” and why is it wrong when white people use it? Start by listing the specific viral clips that appear.
“If you’re white and post black gifs or memes to express strong emotions, you could be guilty of wearing ‘digital blackface,'” wrote John Blake | I’m here.analysis https://t.co/KlHkWWHq6x
— CNN (@CNN) March 26, 2023
“You may have shared a viral video of Kimberly ‘Sweet Brown’ Wilkins telling reporters ‘nobody has time for that!’ after she narrowly escaped an apartment fire.”
“Perhaps supermodel Tyra Banks posted an angry meme on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ (‘I was rooting for you! We Everyone was rooting for you!”),” he continued. “Or NBA great Michael just posted a GIF of him that was popular, like the scene where Jordan cries, or drags his queen’s le he pole proclaiming ‘Guuuurl…’ maybe.”
According to Blake, if you did so as a white person, you could have committed a “racist” crime.
“If you were black and shared an image like that online, you would get a pass. It is possible that
Blake describes “digital blackface” as the practice of white people “adopting online representations of Black people’s imagery, slang, catchphrases, or culture to convey comic relief or express emotion.” doing.
“These expressions, called racist reactions by one commentator, are mainstays of Twitter feeds, TikTok videos and Instagram reels and are among the most popular internet memes,” he wrote. increase.
He quotes Teen Vogue for 2017 essay Author Lauren Michele Jackson defines the practice as whites “acting out to be black”, and the Internet “thrives on whites laughing at exaggerated displays of blacks, making blacks”. An exaggeration to walk blacks.
Jackson claimed that seeing many white people choose images of black people to express exaggerated emotions made them “so happy, so cocky, so ghetto, so loud… our All dialed to 10. Time—Black characters are rarely given nuances and emotions.
“We are your sass, your indifference, your anger, your joy, your displeasure, your happy dance, your diva, your shade, your yass moment,” Jackson said. is writing “Reaction GIF, the weight of the period rests on our shoulders.”
She also acknowledges that white people may be guilty of spreading digital blackface without malice.
“Digital blackface represents not an intention but an act—the act of living in a black persona,” Jackson wrote. “Employing digital technology to adopt a recognized cache or Black He’s Cool also includes playing Blackness in traditions like Minstrel.”
“No matter how short the performance or how playful the intent, summoning black imagery into playtypes means going against more than 150 years of American blackface tradition.” she adds.
While some might consider posting a clip of “Sweet Brown” and laughing it off by saying, “Oh, Jesus, it’s a fire,” the work’s authors argue that the practice is a “modern minstrel.” It’s wrong because it’s a repackage of the show.” A popular form of entertainment in the 19th century. ”
“That’s when white actors darkened their faces with burnt corks and entertained audiences by playing black characters as moody, carefree simple children,” he explains. “That practice continued well into the 20th century with his hit radio shows such as ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy.'”
“Simply put, digital blackface is the bard of the 21st century,” the author claims.
quote academic paper On how the current internet language “encourages racism,” Blake quotes Erin Wong, saying, “Historical blackface never truly ended, and Americans continue to Until then, I didn’t actively confront my racist past.”
Digital blackface is wrong, argues Wong. Because it “disregards the seriousness of everyday instances of racism that Black people encounter, such as police brutality, occupational discrimination, and educational inequity, while culturally applying Black language and expression to entertainment.” because there is.”
Blake then discusses the difficulty of defining exactly what “digital blackface” means.
“When trying to define digital blackface, it comes down to who you talk to. “You can see it,” he writes.
However, he offers the following guidance to help.
“But even with that definition, it’s hard to pinpoint what is digital blackface and what isn’t,” he admits.
He continues to quote brand designer Elizabeth Halford. He faces another problem in trying to avoid “digital blackface” by refraining from black memes.
“They work best because white people are so boring,” she says.
The CNN writer concludes the essay by advising whites to think twice before sharing GIFs featuring blacks.
“If you’re white and are considering using a ‘with a wig’ GIF, here’s the advice Jackson offers in his Teen Vogue essay for white people pretending to be black online: You should consider getting a face to release your inner sass monster, perhaps consider going further country miles and opting for this lovely Taylor Swift GIF instead please give me.
In response, many mocked what they saw as promoting “quarantine” on social media.
“Contemporary segregationists continue to divide people by race, prevent pleasant and natural interaction, forbid them from understanding other people’s cultures and humor, and generally demand that they have as little common ground as possible. I will do everything in my power to help,” wrote journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Because modern segregationists keep people divided by race, prevent pleasant and natural interactions, forbid them from understanding other people’s cultures and humor, and generally demand that they have as little common ground as possible. and do everything possible. https://t.co/pMXVCAf2Xr
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 26, 2023
“Then they’ll say you were guilty of audio blackface for singing along to a black hit song…” I have written Conservative commentator Tim Young.
“Dear @CNN By posting this photo of a black person to express strong feelings, I demand that civil rights and voting rights be given to African Americans in this case, but I am not saying ‘digital black I’m guilty of wearing a ‘face’. Do you support this cause? asked science writer Michael Shermer.
dear @CNN By posting this photo of a black person to express strong emotions, in this case I demand that civil rights and the right to vote be given to African Americans, and I strongly support this cause. I am guilty of wearing “digital blackface” because I feel like I am. ? https://t.co/7eBUvq6ttH pic.twitter.com/rNnbfxctob
— Michael Shermer (@michaelshermer) March 27, 2023
“Capitalizing ‘white’ and ‘black’ is pernicious racism and has more to do with racism than the American way,” wrote conservative activist Tom Fitton. .
Capitalizing ‘white’ or ‘black’ is pernicious racism that has more to do with racial apartheid than the American way. https://t.co/C7p112S5Xu
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) March 27, 2023
“CNN is essentially seeking separation of memes” I have written Columnist Nicolas Fondacaro.
“I am black and have been black all my life. I have never read a book more ridiculous,” wrote Laverne Spicer, a Florida Republican.
I am black and have been black all my life. I have never read anything so stupid.
—Lavern Spicer 🇺🇸 (@lavern_spicer) March 26, 2023
“I’d like to hear an explanation that posting black gifs and memes online is digital blackface, but men who dress up like women in real life are heroic. I have written Radio host Clay Travis. “Please explain @cnn.”
This isn’t the first time white people have been warned against using memes featuring black people.
2017, BBC Ran A segment claiming that online reaction GIFs showing black people constitute “digital blackface” and that “white people” use “dark-skinned emojis” and are guilty of “cultural appropriation.”
Additionally, in 2021, the non-profit Slow Factory Foundation will warned White people against engaging in “digital blackface”.
The organization issued a warning about the practice following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, resulting in a new popular internet meme featuring the famous talk show host.
“Would you like to jump on the phone to discuss…” pic.twitter.com/hr9eAUcLE6
— Lily Dunsiger (@lillydancyger) March 8, 2021
“Since the #MeghanandHarry interview on Oprah, we’ve seen a number of digital blackface violations, including some of Oprah’s reaction gifs and images going viral, but that doesn’t mean you should use them. No,” the group explained.
The Slow Factory added that the use of black emoji by non-black people is also an act of “digital blackface.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @Joshua Klein.