Are GIFs Really a Problem?

In my opinion, the article in Teen Vogue titled “We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs” is a little bit of a stretch. It is a very opinionated article, which is fine, but opinionated articles need evidence to support the opinions put forth, and there is little evidence to back up several claims Lauren Jackson makes. The author states without evidence, for example, “For while reaction GIFs can and do every feeling under the sun, white and nonblack users seem to especially prefer GIFs with black people when it comes to emitting their most exaggerated emotions” (Jackson 2017). It is fine to make this claim, but Jackson should have more to support this statement than just her own supposition. To simply say that it seems like people prefer GIFs with black people is not a convincing argument because it is not an argument at all – it is merely an opinion.


After claiming without evidence that GIF users prefer GIFs with black people, Jackson then proceeds to declare, again with no corroboration, that “In television and film, our dial is on 10 all the time — rarely are black characters afforded subtle traits or feelings” (Jackson 2017). Again, Jackson takes what is merely her opinion and asserts it as an undeniable fact. She may actually be correct about both of the claims I just analyzed – I quite honestly have no idea what the data would say, but Jackson’s flawed rhetoric is not convincing unless she presents statistics to back up such assertions.

Without any evidence, the entire article becomes trivial. This article from the Huffington Post, on the other hand, presents three explicit examples of racist digital blackface. If one is truly trying to combat racism in the digital world, perhaps these clearly offensive memes are a better place to start.


Works Cited:

Jackson, Lauren Michele. “We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in GIFs.” Teen Vogue,, 3 Aug. 2017, Accessed 2 Oct. 2017.

Lewis, Sedgrid. “Top 3 Types of Digital Blackface.” The Huffington Post,, 26 Apr. 2016, Accessed 2 Oct. 2017.

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