Even Elon Musk got into the mix as CNN was brutally shredded on Twitter for posting an opinion piece saying that white people using reaction gifs of black people is a form of digital “blackface.”
The article in question was authored by the network’s writer and producer, John Blake.
“If you’re White and you’ve posted a GIF or meme of a Black person to express a strong emotion, you may be guilty of wearing ‘digital blackface,’” Blake wrote, and CNN tweeted.
“If you’re White and you’ve posted a GIF or meme of a Black person to express a strong emotion, you may be guilty of wearing ‘digital blackface,’” writes John Blake Analysis https://t.co/KlHkWWHq6x
— CNN (@CNN) March 26, 2023
Blake’s article referred to sharing funny gifs as one of the “most insidious forms of contemporary racism.” He added that it is a “modern-day repackaging of minstrel shows, a racist form of entertainment popular in the 19th century. That’s when White actors, faces darkened with burnt cork, entertained audiences by playing Black characters as bumbling, happy-go-lucky simpletons.”
The author explained that its only “digital blackface” if the person in the gif looks bad.
“This guidance might help: If a White person shares an image online that perpetuates stereotypes of Black people as loud, dumb, hyperviolent or hypersexual, they’ve entered digital blackface territory,” Blake wrote.
The response and backlash against the ridiculous assertion were swift.
Shibetoshi Nakamoto responded, “jesus f-cking christ shut the f-ck up,” to which Musk responded with “100.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2023
Thousands of people responded to the tweet with reaction gifs of black people.
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) March 26, 2023
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 26, 2023
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) March 26, 2023
— Mises Caucus (@LPMisesCaucus) March 26, 2023
Within eight hours, the tweet had 10.6 million views, only 5,332 “likes,” and tens of thousands of sarcastic responses.