This term of blackface is more relevant now than ever because after all these years and all these movements in the U.S., we still struggle to overcome racism. The past few years have seen so many controversial issues with race, proving that we still have such a long way to go.
When I began to read Lauren Michele Jackson’s article about “digital blackface”, it definitely forced me to think. I scrolled through some of my tweets to see if I had ever used a reaction GIF that featured a black person. Not that this would be inherently wrong, but I wanted to consider whether or not I used it because of what Jackson stated that I related because I see “black people as walking hyperbole.”
Upon reading this article, I realized that I fall into the category of innocently ignorant. Blackface is a tradition that frankly shocks me. This is a part of American history that I am not proud of. I thought that it perhaps had died with the civil rights movement, but now I understand that it can appear in many forms such as the digital blackface that Jackson points out. But I also am not innocent. I have probably used a reaction GIF that features a black person at some point or another because it emphasized a feeling I had. This is that extremeness that she is referring to. I love and respect African-American culture, and of course my feelings in using those GIFs were not malicious, but I also now realize that I don’t have the right to claim that I understand all aspects of their culture, and cannot imitate them behind the wall of the internet.