People are getting “canceled” for their tweets from a decade ago. In ten years from now, a new wave of cancelations could include people who are sharing harmless memes today, as an organization dedicated to social justice is now accusing social media users of “digital blackface.”
According to the Slow Factory Foundation, “digital blackface” is “an online phenomenon where white and non-black people share GIFs and photos of black folks to express emotion or reaction to anything happening on the internet.”
“Performing blackness, be it IRL or online, is not an acceptable form of expressing reaction or dissatisfaction, especially not in exchange for likes and retweets,” the Slow Factory wrote in an Instagram recent post.
The organization issued its warning about “digital blackface” following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which resulted in new popular internet memes featuring Oprah Winfrey.
“Since the #MeghanandHarry interview on Oprah, we’ve been seeing a lot of digital blackface infractions with a few of Oprah’s reaction gifs and images going viral, but that doesn’t mean you should be using them,” the Slow Factory wrote explained.
“Could we jump on a call to discuss…” pic.twitter.com/hr9eAUcLE6
— Lilly Dancyger (@lillydancyger) March 8, 2021
i’m still waiting for oprah to interview them pic.twitter.com/DiaCvcRsDq
— kyyle (@kyle4prezident) March 9, 2021
The Slow Factory claims that “while seemingly harmless,” these types of memes being used by non-black people “reinforces negative stereotypes about black folks such as they’re aggressive, loud, sassy, and simply here for your consumption and entertainment.”
“It is another way people try and co-opt black identity and culture without any of the day-to-day realities of being black,” the organization continued.
The Slow Factory then compared sharing internet memes to white performers of the past painting their faces black to perform “blackface.”
“It was not long ago that white performers would paint their face black as a form of entertainment for the masses, often playing with the idea that black folks are primitive and violent, and hyper-sexualizing black women,” the Instagram post read. “The way that white and non-black folks engage in digital blackface feels too reminiscent of these old shows.”
“For example, in light of the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry interview with Oprah this past week, social media has been plastered with Oprah reaction gifs and ‘which Oprah are you today?’ graphics, callously being spread by non-black users,” the organization added.
The Slow Factory added that the usage of black emojis by non-black people is also an act of “digital blackface.”
Sources: Breitbart: Organization Claims White People Sharing Oprah Memes Is ‘Digital Blackface’