According to CNN analyst John Blake, a white individual sharing a GIF, video, or photo of a Black public figure may be contributing to the perpetuation of racism.
"Maybe you shared that viral video of Kimberly ‘Sweet Brown’ Wilkins telling a reporter after narrowly escaping an apartment fire, 'Ain’t nobody got time for that! Perhaps you posted that meme of supermodel Tyra Banks exploding in anger on 'America’s Next Top Model' ('I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!'). Or maybe you’ve simply posted popular GIFs, such as the one of NBA great Michael Jordan crying, or of drag queen RuPaul declaring, ‘Guuuurl…’" Blake wrote in an article published Sunday.
"If you’re Black and you’ve shared such images online, you get a pass. But if you’re white, you may have inadvertently perpetuated one of the most insidious forms of contemporary racism," he continued.
However, what exactly is meant by the term "digital blackface", and how can individuals determine if they are accused of perpetuating it?
In essence, Blake's definition of "digital blackface" pertains to the exaggerated portrayal of racial reactions that are made at the expense of an individual who has performed a certain action or spoken a specific phrase. More specifically, it involves white individuals mocking Blackness.
"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," Blake continued.
I’d love to hear an explanation of how posting a gif or meme of a black person online is digital blackface, but a man dressing up like a woman in real life is heroic. Please explain @cnn. pic.twitter.com/fPYXF5ogDC
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 26, 2023
Reporter Tatjana Pasalic made a great point when she pushed Elon Musk to add a "parody or real button" to Twitter. She said, "I am once again asking @elonmusk to give us a parody or real button" and actor Damon Gonzalez said, "What if you are mixed race like me? I live for NeNe Leaks. She has the best one liners, smart AF. Why can’t I admire and use her image? And what if I use a female GIF. Am I sexiest [sic]? Stop with the labels. We all know if someone is truly being offensive."
Some individuals accused the piece of attempting to eliminate Black people from mainstream culture. On the other hand, those who endorsed the article argued that it provided them with a new perspective on a topic they had not previously contemplated.
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