As a society today, our lives are inarguably ruled by social media. No matter how much you think you’re exempt from the obsession, unfortunately we’re all plugged into the Matrix whether we like it or not — search your name right now on Google and see!
One of the key factors that makes social media so addictive is, quite frankly, the social aspect of it all. Never in history have we been so connected to one another at such lightening speeds, with the Internet giving us a way to talk with a family member, lover or pen pal at a moment’s notice from anywhere in the world. Well, anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection at least.
We share emails, business proposals, fan-fiction, food reviews and pretty much everything else you can think to type in a search toolbar. However, one of our main shared pastimes on the Internet is exchanging hilarious photos and videos that we’ve come to know and love as memes.
Take a look at some of our favorite memes over the years below:
It goes without saying, but majority of the memes that you’ll find circulating out there are either created by Black people or feature some aspect of our culture. From inside jokes to universally understood behavior within Black households, memes have become a way for us to bond on a different level as a community. However, it’s also very understood that we’re not out here alone, nor are we the only ones enjoying and/or partaking in the culture of “Black memes.”
There’s a new term circulating out there called “digital blackface,” brought to light recently thanks to a recent profile on CNN that describes it as “contemporary racism.” According to reporter John Blake, “Digital blackface is a practice where White people co-opt online expressions of Black imagery, slang, catchphrases or culture to convey comic relief or express emotions.”
Take a look below at why Blake says digital blackface is detrimental to our culture, via CNN:
“Some may say posting a video of Sweet Brown saying, ‘Oh Lord Jesus, it’s a fire’ is just for laughs. Why overthink it? Why give people yet another excuse for labeling White people racists for the most innocuous behaviors?
But critics say digital blackface is wrong because it’s a modern-day repackaging of minstrel shows, a racist form of entertainment popular in the 19th century. That’s when White actors, faces darkened with burnt cork, entertained audiences by playing Black characters as bumbling, happy-go-lucky simpletons. That practice continued in the 20th century on hit radio shows such as ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy.’
Put simply: digital blackface is 21st-century minstrelsy.”
On the other side of the debate, Antoine Dodson of “hide-yo-kids-hide-yo-wife” fame (seen above) made the argument that it was actually support from the white community that paid him top dollar for appearances and made sure his travel accommodations were of the highest order. When it came to Black media, he says, “it’s a joke to them,” even stating that he “rarely goes to Black events” when selling products.
Hear his full statement below, via TMZ:
Many people on Twitter and other social platforms have even called out CNN, stating that “digital blackface” is more than just sharing pics and videos. According to a handful of users, the real offense arises when white social media users begin creating full online personas that would otherwise have you believe they’re Black as well.
It gets deep, y’all!
So, does Dodson have a point? Does the monetary support from white people give them a pass to play along in the world of Black meme culture? Is it even that big of a deal to begin with? Let us know your thoughts and see what others on social media are saying below:
Digital Blackface: Do White People Have The Right To Use Black Memes? was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. Y’all worded this title in a way that’s gonna get black people attacked. You’re also minimizing what digital blackface. It’s not using a gif with a black person. It’s literally building your online persona around blackness. Only using gifs of black ppl is just a symptom of that.
2. digital blackface is NOT when you post a new york or nene gif digital blackface when you pretend to be black and go into black online spaces with the intent of speaking FOR black people
3. here’s my take (imho): posting the occasional gif/meme featuring a black person? completely fine creating an entire online persona based on AAVE, black profile pics, and basically impersonating a black person online when you’re nothing like that irl? now THATS digital blackface
4. Digital blackface is NOT a non-Black person posting a Nene meme or Wee-Bay gif. Digital Blackface is the non-black person who pretends to be black & goes into digital spaces claiming to be the black person who agrees [insert black person] should be hated.
5. This CNN article is ridiculous. lol “Digital blackface” is when a white person makes a fake account pretending to be black typically pushing racist garbage or the “I’m black and approve of this message bullshit” But that has NOTHING to do with posting a MEME. This is insane! LOL
6. TRANSLATION: If you’re not Black, stop using Black GIFs as your response and/or reaction to things. I see if it’s in reference to the celebrity being discussed, but if not — cut it out. Digital blackface shows up in ways unspoken on here.
7. GIFs are now digital blackface??? WHAT?
8. There is no such thing as “digital blackface.” “Cultural appropriation” is merely culture. Reject the premises, because the premises are incoherent. They’re meant to keep you defensive and cowed. Refuse to participate.
9. If you’re White and you’ve posted a GIF or meme of a Black person to express a strong emotion, you are guilty of wearing digital blackface. It’s racist.
10. Me after finding out I’m guilty of digital blackface
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