Every now and then you have to call out the stupid, and this week it seems to be people who consider any non-black people using memes or gifs that include black people - like billionaire Oprah Winfrey - as "digital blackface." Yeah, it's as dumb as it sounds.
A group called the Slow Factory Foundation - it's hilariously ironic that they call themselves "slow" - claimed on Instagram that "white and non-black" people who have used or shared "gifs and images" of Winfrey or entitiled leftist Meghan Markle are guilty of "digital blackface infractions."
The Blaze categorized the organization, who claims they work for "Human Rights" and "Environmental Justice," as "far-left."
"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 post reads. "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."
And who made this group emperor of what is or isn't acceptable in our society? That's right. No one, so ignore their mandate as we delve deeper into what their racist thoughts are on what is or isn't digital blackface - which doesn't actually exist.
Here's the Slow Factory Foundation's definition of "digital blackface":
Digital blackface definition: 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. While seemingly harmless, the problem with digital blackface is that it often 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.
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 way that white and non-Black folks engage in digital blackface feels too reminiscent of these old shows.
I'm sorry, not really, but there's a huge difference between coloring your own face black and sharing a meme or gif of someone black because you're either trying to convey a thought or make a joke. Not only that, but isn't it kind of racist for this organization to stereotype black people like they did in their definition? Just saying.
Isn't it the opposite of racist for someone who isn't black to post something that includes a black person in it? The only way that something like that could even come close to being considered "digital blackface" would be if the person using the image intentionally meant it as a racist knock against black people.
This is why it's so dangerous to use blanket terms on anything someone doesn't like. Much like everything else, each instance should be viewed individually based on context.
Or, and here's a novel idea, how about not looking for a racist, sexist or any other offense-driven meaning in everything?
We really do live in a world full of clowns - and not in a good way.