Twitter CEO Elon Musk reached his limit with CNN after the network posted an absurd article titled, ‘What’s ‘digital blackface?’ And why is it wrong when White people use it?’ The network added this caption on social media:
“If you’re White and you’ve posted a GIF or meme of a Black person to express a strong emotion, you may be guilty of wearing ‘digital blackface.’”
If you are confused what digital blackface is, CNN cites Lauren Michele Jackson’s article where she said it “includes 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.
“We are your sass, your nonchalance, your fury, your delight, your annoyance, your happy dance, your diva, your shade, your ‘yaas’ moments,” Jackson writes. “The weight of reaction GIFing, period, rests on our shoulders.
“But while these examples are particularly noteworthy for their malicious intent, digital blackface has softer counterparts, just like offline blackface.
“Digital blackface does not describe intent, but an act — the act of inhabiting a black persona. Employing digital technology to co-opt a perceived cache or black cool, too, involves playacting blackness in a minstrel-like tradition.
“This can be as elaborate as anon accounts like @ItsLaQueefa or as inadvertent as recruiting images of black queer men to throw shade at one’s enemies.
“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.
“As the name of the tag suggests, online minstrels are no more believable than their in-person counterparts to anyone who knows black culture and black people, rather than a series of types.
“Unfortunately, digital blackface often goes unchecked unless a black person does the work to point out the discrepancies in someone’s profile.
“Now, I’m not suggesting that white and nonblack people refrain from ever circulating a black person’s image for amusement or otherwise.
There’s no prescriptive or proscriptive step-by-step rulebook to follow, nobody’s coming to take GIFs away.”
“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.”
CNN quoted Elizabeth Halford who apologized for engaging in digital blackface:
“I’ve engaged in digital blackface.
“I’ve laughed at people of color on the news facing horrifying crime and disaster and loss.
“I’ve appropriated Black trauma as punchlines and peeled their faces off to put on my own and say what I can’t say, to make you laugh, or just because it went viral.”
A stunned Twitter user said about CNN’s post:
“Jesus f*cking christ shut the f*ck up.”
Elon Musk agreed CNN needed to shut the f*ck up saying:
jesus fucking christ shut the fuck up— Shibetoshi Nakamoto (@BillyM2k) March 26, 2023
"If you're White and you've posted a GIF or meme of a Black person to express a strong emotion, you may be guilty of wearing 'digital blackface,'" writes John Blake | Analysis https://t.co/KlHkWWHq6x— CNN (@CNN) March 26, 2023