In order to “provide comedic relief or express emotions,” CNN author John Blake charged white individuals with using “digital blackface” if they uploaded memes or animated gifs of black persons and expressions.
Blake believed that white people had “inadvertently perpetuated one of the most pernicious kinds of contemporary racism” when they used the most widely used gifs and memes, which he referred to as “radicalized reactions.” He claimed that black people “got a pass” for utilizing these types of media.
Blake then cited a Teen Vogue 2017 article by Lauren Michele Jackson whereas she suggested that when attempting to convey strong emotions, people frequently cherry-picked gifs that depicted black people.
“White and non-black users appear to particularly favor GIFs involving black individuals when it comes to expressing their most heightened emotions,” Jackson noted. “Reaction GIFs can and do every sentiment under the sun,” she continued. “Images of black individuals, especially black women, are drawn to extreme happiness, displeasure, rage, and occasions for gossip and drama.”
Blake described “digital blackface” as a “present-day repackaging of minstrel shows” later in the essay.
When Blake’s essay went viral on Twitter on Sunday, critics pounced.
“I’d be interested in hearing an explanation as to just how posting a gif or a meme of a black individual online becomes digital blackface, but a man that is dressing up like a lady in real life is heroic,” radio presenter Clay Travis tweeted. @cnn.
Nicholas Fondacaro of the Media Research Center continued, “CNN boss Chris Licht: I really want to make CNN a place of rational discourse again. CNN: Segregate your memes!”
Siraj Hashmi continued, “CNN is more worried about digital blackface than they are about biological men donning womanface in real life.”
Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald observed that “the modern-day segregationists are doing everything that they can to keep people separated by race, stop them from engaging in natural and joyful interactions, ban them from appreciating the humor and culture of everyone else, and in general demand that they share as little in common as possible.”
Editor emeritus of Daily Wire Ben Shapiro said, “When the demand for racism significantly outstrips the supply.”
Matt Walsh added his perspective and noted how many reviewers had commented on the post.
“Is this the worst ratio ever?” he inquired.