White people who use animated reaction gifs of black people are guilty of “digital blackface,” a new video from the British Broadcasting Corporation claims.
Writer Victoria Princewill says white people employ black gifs on social media to “blacken up,” a form of cultural appropriation that is actually coded racism.
“Nothing like a good reaction gif, right?” Princewill asks, before adding, “Well you’ve probably noticed the most popular ones are of black people being dramatic.”
Animated gifs of black people, Princewill rationalizes, parallel minstrel shows of the early 19th century, where actors would paint their faces in a mocking portrayal of black people.
“Minstrel shows depicted black people in all sorts of negative ways. They were mocking, demeaning stereotypes and they exaggerated black people’s facial features and their expressions.”
“And digital blackface is the 21st century version of that,” Princewill claims.
But that’s not all the BBC has a problem with.
“Let’s talk about white people using dark-skinned emojis,” Princewill proceeds, identifying another racist scourge.
“This is a form of cultural appropriation. Paying little respect to someone else’s culture and using it however you please,” the writer says, while flashing a picture of a white-skinned woman with dreadlocks.
Reactions to the upload on Youtube, where the video garnered 19 likes versus 579 dislikes, were expectedly apprehensive.
“People use the imoji because of the expression on the face, NOT because if the colour of the skin. But nice of you to assume that. Who is the real racist here? ….oh that’s right. In the SJW world, black people can’t be racist,” [sic] reads the video’s top comment.
“I can’t believe what I’ve just seen. You are driving people into opposing sides and creating division!!” another Youtube user wrote, while a person identifying themselves as a black Youtube user said, “I’m black and I never saw those gifs are racist. Gifs are for entertainment. No matter the race. Sorry not sorry.”