The exact same weekend we try to uplift our young Black women with the star-studded event Black Girls Rock, the Internet erupts in a racist firestorm with the offensive hashtag: “#StopBlackGirls2013.” This judgment-drenched hashtag littered Twitter timelines on Sunday with photos of various Black women — many of them being compared to zoo animals — with the object of said photos the target of offensive comedy. Black girls weren’t the only victims of this racist hashtag as others targeting Mexican girls, Indian girls and more popped up during the frenzy, but it was the #StopBlackGirls2013 hashtag that had the longer shelf life.
At first, it skyrocketed to the number five trending topic and within 20 minutes, it was second. An hour later, #StopWhiteGirls2013 was born and landed in the sixth spot for trending for a short stint, and then it was completely void as a trending topic altogether. This proves one thing: making jokes at a Black girl’s expense is a lot more fun for ignorant folks than any other race. What’s worse is that Black people started participating too!
This isn’t the first, nor the last time a Black woman’s image has been crucified for sh*ts and giggles. Throughout history, our bodies have been objectified for the sake of entertainment. I can’t help but think about Sarah Baartman aka Hottentot Venus–who’s body was made into a freak show for Europeans to gawk and marvel at her buxom curves. Her life became thrilling voyeurism for them and a disgusting trend for us that would navigate its way through the years and follow us into the present day, where we’re fighting hashtag battles on the digital battlefield. Social media is the breeding ground for the shocking and the shareable and if you’re neither one, our microwave culture doesn’t care.
The sad truth is that the internet has become one of the only places where Black women can control their images, but we cannot control what others think of our image. Sure, there are certain images that people put on the internet that are indeed laughable and even stereotypically awful, but when a young Black girl is sitting in class, trying on clothes and sharing the outfit with her followers or just taking a selfie and she becomes the butt of a racist joke–that’s when the internet starts an unfair fight. The obvious problem here is…Black girls can’t win.
#StopBlackGirls2013 has spawned several hashtags, including:
#OpenSeasonOnBlackGirlsIsOver has become my favorite hashtags spawned from the various racist #Stop hashtags. Check out some of the best tweets, defending Black girls:
While I don’t think there is a tangible solution for this type of ignorance, I am happy that there is a way to fight against stereotypes like the ones racists love to splatter all over social media. And that way is (to quote Ghandi) to be the change we want to see in the world.
What do you think we can do to fight against racist stereotypes? Let’s chat @Rhapsodani.
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