Teen Vogue is actually claiming that when white people use reaction gifs featuring black people, they're partaking in “digital blackface”.
“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.”
"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.”
By this logic, if you use an image of a cartoon character to express how you feel, you're a bigot. It doesn't get much more insane than this.
“Digital blackface does not describe intent, but an act — the act of inhabiting a black persona. Employing digital technology to co-opt a perceived cache or black cool, too, involves playacting blackness in a minstrel-like tradition,” she adds. “No matter how brief the performance or playful the intent, summoning black images to play types means pirouetting on over 150 years of American blackface tradition.”
She gets even more ridiculous stating:
“Ultimately, black people and black images are thus relied upon to perform a huge amount of emotional labor online on behalf of nonblack users. We are your sass, your nonchalance, your fury, your delight, your annoyance, your happy dance, your diva, your shade, your “yaas” moments. The weight of reaction GIFing, period, rests on our shoulders.”
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