CNN is being pilloried online after its news site posted an analysis piece singling out white social media users as guilty of “digital blackface” if they use a GIF or meme featuring an African American celebrity.
John Blake, a writer for CNN.com, is the author of a piece titled “What’s ‘digital blackface?’ And why is it wrong when White people use it?”
According to Blake, white people who share internet memes featuring black people “may have inadvertently perpetuated one of the most insidious forms of contemporary racism.”
He cited popular GIFs and memes featuring Tyra Banks from the reality TV show “America’s Next Top Model” as well as the “Crying Jordan” meme showing a teary-eyed Michael Jordan.
Another well-known meme features Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, the survivor of a 2012 Oklahoma City apartment fire who was immortalized online when she told a local newscaster: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Blake then went on to define the phenomenon known as “digital blackface” as “a practice where White people co-opt online expressions of Black imagery, slang, catchphrases or culture to convey comic relief or express emotions.”