CNN was thoroughly mocked for accusing white people of “digital blackface” for sharing memes and GIFs featuring black people. The CNN writer claimed that digital blackface is “one of the most insidious forms of contemporary racism.”
CNN senior writer John Blake claimed that black people sharing GIFs of other black people “get a pass.” However, Blake said that white people are not allowed to share GIFs or memes of black people.
“But if you’re white, you may have inadvertently perpetuated one of the most insidious forms of contemporary racism,” Blake wrote in the article. “You may be wearing ‘digital blackface.'”
“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,” he stated.
Blake cited a Teen Vogue article from 2017 written by Lauren Michele Jackson – who alleged that the “internet thrives on white people laughing at exaggerated displays of blackness.”
Jackson describes digital blackface as “displays of emotion stereotyped as excessive: so happy, so sassy, so ghetto, so loud… our dial is on 10 all the time — rarely are black characters afforded subtle traits or feelings.”
Blake wrote, “Many white people choose images of black people when it comes to expressing exaggerated emotions on social media – a burden that black people didn’t ask for, she says.”
Jackson said, “No matter how brief the performance or playful the intent, summoning black images to play types means pirouetting on over 150 years of American blackface tradition.”
Jackson advised white people to use Taylor Swift GIFs instead of images of black people.
Blake’s article argued, “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.”
Blake cited an essay written by Erinn Wong, “Historical blackface has never truly ended, and Americans have yet to actively confront their racist past to this day. In fact, minstrel blackface has emerged into even more subtle forms of racism that are now glorified all over the internet.”
Wong alleged that digital blackface “culturally appropriates the language and expressions of black people for entertainment, while dismissing the severity of everyday instances of racism black people encounter, such as police brutality, job discrimination, and educational inequity.”
Marketing director Elizabeth Halford told Blake that black memes “are the most effective, because white people are so boring.”
The CNN article accusing white people of racism by using black memes and GIFs incited thousands of Twitter reactions – a majority of the responses lampooned the article. There were also hundreds of Twitter users who responded with GIFs of black people.
BlazeTV hostChad Prather: “Go to time out and think about what you said.”
Writer Emmanuel Rincón: “Congratulations, this is the stupidest thing I’ve read in all of 2023. You guys really outdo yourselves on a daily basis.”
Speaker Joel Brown: “So I guess we just throw context and intention out the window and claim everything is racist from now on? Way to create more division. The stupidity of the trash you push out there to the masses is off the chain CNN.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald: “The modern-day segregationists do everything possible to keep people divided by race, prevent them from having joyful and natural interactions, ban them from appreciating the culture and humor of others, and in general demand that they have as little in common as possible.”
Commentator Ben Shapiro: “When the demand for racism radically outstrips the supply.”
Writer Cathy Young: “Why is CNN peddling this bulls**t.”
Podcaster Siraj Hashmi: “CNN is more concerned about digital blackface than they are biological men wearing womanface IRL.”
Author Wilfred Reilly: “This stupid article is important in only one way: it illustrates that, as actual racism continues to decline, new varieties will simply be invented/promoted and used to make us fight one another.”
Last year, Blake was also ridiculed for writing an article comparing a Joe Rogan controversy to the Capitol riot.
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