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Post Reply "We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs"
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17
I want to start this off by saying no one is going to tell how you to use reactions GIFs.
This is more of you might not have considered this before, let's take a moment to think about it.

I thought the article was a little ridiculous, but after reading it, it ask some interesting questions.

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/digital-blackface-reaction-gifs


If you’ve never heard of the term before, “digital blackface” is used to describe various types of minstrel performance that become available in cyberspace. Blackface minstrelsy is a theatrical tradition dating back to the early 19th century, in which performers “blacken” themselves up with costume and behaviors to act as black caricatures. The performances put society’s most racist sensibilities on display and in turn fed them back to audiences to intensify these feelings and disperse them across culture. Many of our most beloved entertainment genres owe at least part of themselves to the minstrel stage, including vaudeville, film, and cartoons. While often associated with Jim Crow–era racism, the tenets of minstrel performance remain alive today in television, movies, music and, in its most advanced iteration, on the Internet.

Unlike other physical executions of blackface (such as by Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, Sarah Silverman on her own show, Rachel Dolezal, or the authors of AB to Jay-Z) that require physical alternations and usually a change in demeanor (like Iggy Azalea’s “blaccent”), digital blackface is in some ways a more seamless transformation. Digital blackface uses the relative anonymity of online identity to embody blackness. In the case of Mandi Harrington, a white woman who masqueraded as the fictional “LaQueeta Jones,” digital blackface became a means for her to defend musician Ani DiFranco’s decision to host a retreat at a slave plantation. Digital minstrels often operate under stolen profile pictures and butchered AAVE. Quite often it comes in the form of an excessive use of reaction GIFs with images of black people.



Now, I'm not suggesting that white and nonblack people refrain from ever circulating a black person’s image for amusement or otherwise (except maybe lynching photos, Emmett Till’s casket, and videos of cops killing us, y’all can stop cycling those, thanks). There’s no prescriptive or proscriptive step-by-step rulebook to follow, nobody’s coming to take GIFs away. But no digital behavior exists in a deracialized vacuum. We all need to be cognizant of what we share, how we share, and to what extent that sharing dramatizes preexisting racial formulas inherited from “real life.” The Internet isn’t a fantasy — it’s real life.
After all, our culture frequently associates black people with excessive behaviors, regardless of the behavior at hand. Black women will often be accused of yelling when we haven’t so much as raised our voice. Officer Darren Wilson perceived a teenage Michael Brown as a hulking “demon” and a young black girl who remained still was flipped and dragged across a classroom by deputy Ben Fields. It's an implication that points toward a strange way of thinking: When we do nothing, we’re doing something, and when we do anything, our behavior is considered "extreme." This includes displays of emotion stereotyped as excessive: so happy, so sassy, so ghetto, so loud. In television and film, our dial is on 10 all the time — rarely are black characters afforded subtle traits or feelings. Scholar Sianne Ngai uses the word “animatedness” to describe our cultural propensity see black people as walking hyperbole.


More is inside the link, please read before posting
Cred to Aizo over at NeoGaf for bringing this to my attention

I would have never told you this was an issue before today, but after reading about this it brought attention to a couple of things.
First off people are using the anonymity of the internet to pretend to be black people when they are not for a multitude of different reasons. To discredit and drive a wedge between groups or add a level of authority to certain arguments they would not otherwise have had.
And no one is saying stop using them, gotta reiterate that.
But think about it if that's specially the ones you go for constantly, on some level the reactions GIFs are meant to represent you as a person.
I'm still developing more opinions on this, but we'll see where this goes.
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17

But even a casual observer of GIFing would notice that, as with much of online culture, black people appear at the center of it all. Or images of black people, at least.

Say what? Most reaction gifs I see are not black people. They're anime girls or Weird Al, that guy from the office, or the guy with the beard. Debunked.
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17
interesting perspective depends on how much time you spend looking into it really
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17
if someone is getting this upset to a reaction gif, then they have sensitivity issues, besides as someone said above, its mostly anime, pepe, or white guys
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17

jtjumper wrote:


But even a casual observer of GIFing would notice that, as with much of online culture, black people appear at the center of it all. Or images of black people, at least.

Say what? Most reaction gifs I see are not black people. They're anime girls or Weird Al, that guy from the office, or the guy with the beard. Debunked.





redokami wrote:

if someone is getting this upset to a reaction gif, then they have sensitivity issues, besides as someone said above, its mostly anime, pepe, or white guys


That might be true strictly if you look at the post on these forums, but you do realize people post reactions GIFs on tons of different forms of social media, and also what you encounter is not representative of what is mostly commonly posted
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17
When I get on the internet and go browsing in unfamiliar territory, I expect to eventually be shocked and appalled. Frankly, I like it that way. If this is just a call for people to be more thoughtful, that's fine though.
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17
Stop being a little bitch and let people do whatever they want to do. "Digital blackface" People need to take off their pulls ups and put on their big boy pants.
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17
I'm sick and tired of all this race baiting.

There are neither black nor white people in the world. Get over it.
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/7/17

kinga750 wrote:

When I get on the internet and go browsing in unfamiliar territory, I expect to eventually be shocked and appalled. Frankly, I like it that way. If this is just a call for people to be more thoughtful, that's fine though.


That's all this is about. So thank you I appreciate it.



D4nc3Style wrote:

Stop being a little bitch and let people do whatever they want to do. "Digital blackface" People need to take off their pulls ups and put on their big boy pants.


You didn't bother to read the OP or the article did you? It wasn't a call to stop people from do anything. Just to think and have a discussion. Unless when you say "Let people do what they want" you mean don't think or discuss things.


Kuschelpython wrote:

I'm sick and tired of all this race baiting.

There are neither black nor white people in the world. Get over it.


Talking about race isn't race baiting. I know it's complex, I know it's difficult, and I know it can be uncomfortable. But we won't get anywhere if we don't actually address it.

None of these post really show evidence of reading the OP or the article. And that's unfortunate if you read the things and you have specific complaints about what's written in it please let me know I'm willing to discuss that.
Not these complaints about complaints.

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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17

fearisfreedomTalking about race isn't race baiting. I know it's complex, I know it's difficult, and I know it can be uncomfortable. But we won't get anywhere if we don't actually address it.


There's only one recent human race. So yes, implying that there are more - when there's no evidence for it - is race baiting.

Homo sapiens sapiens comes in a vast amount of brown tones, reaching from dark chocolate to beige. Genetic variance, like eye and hair color. Nothing more.
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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/7/17

Kuschelpython wrote:


fearisfreedomTalking about race isn't race baiting. I know it's complex, I know it's difficult, and I know it can be uncomfortable. But we won't get anywhere if we don't actually address it.


There's only one recent human race. So yes, implying that there are more - when there's no evidence for it - is race baiting.

Homo sapiens sapiens comes in a vast amount of brown tones, reaching from dark chocolate to beige. Genetic variance, like eye and hair color. Nothing more.


Oh, goodness. Sorry would ethnicity be a better word for you because the cultural difference is still important and relevant? And that's the basis of this so are you just willfully being obtuse? Or are you saying we've reached total cultural equality thus have no reason to ever discuss anything near it?

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Posted 8/4/17 , edited 8/4/17

fearisfreedom wrote:


Kuschelpython wrote:


fearisfreedomTalking about race isn't race baiting. I know it's complex, I know it's difficult, and I know it can be uncomfortable. But we won't get anywhere if we don't actually address it.


There's only one recent human race. So yes, implying that there are more - when there's no evidence for it - is race baiting.

Homo sapiens sapiens comes in a vast amount of brown tones, reaching from dark chocolate to beige. Genetic variance, like eye and hair color. Nothing more.


Oh, goodness. Sorry would ethnicity be a better word for you because the cultural difference is still important and relevant? And that's the basis of this so are you just willfully being obtuse?


No, I don't think it would be a better word. It's too vague to mean anything and only serves to separate people.


Or are you saying we've reached total cultural equality thus have no reason to ever discuss anything near it?


In modern society, skin color is not responsible for culture. Cultures develop by geographic divisions (like countries or cities) and different interests and ways of living.

You could argue that some of the ghetto-gangster-hood mentality is a cultural leftover from past times of slavery and segregation, but if you ask me I think that needs to die out quickly as it produces crime, and crime produces poverty, which produces crime again, etc.

It's a vicious circle.
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