Skip to main content

Is TikTok perpetuating digital blackface?

by Mareyah Bhatti, Sep 1
1 minute read

Blackface first gained momentum in the 19thC with shows portraying derogatory stereotypes towards Black people. Now, in the age of social media it appears these portrayals are continuing over 100 years later with ‘digital blackface’ surfacing on TikTok.

person holding black iphone 5

This term describes “non-Black people using Black people and culture as emotional reactions on social media [perpetuating] racism in nonchalant ways in the form of gifs, emojis, stickers, and memes.”

So what?

And this isn’t the first time BAME people have been unfairly treated on social media. A recent movement led by choreographer JaQuel Knight aims to help people of colour copyright their popular dance trends, displaying an innovative effort to support crediting the creators on TikTok. The treatment of BAME social media users reinforces how entrenched systemic racism is – cropping up in online spaces and in new forms such as digital blackface.

TikTok has yet to announce how it aims to tackle this racial issue – but it will undoubtedly spread across social media calling for platforms to act on it.



by Mareyah Bhatti Spotted 56 signals

Focus areas: Food & nutrition, Climate change, Health

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • Share

Join discussion

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.