“How Dare Do You Take All of These Roles From Black People?”

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This was Jamie Foxx’s opening joke at the birthday party for Robert Downey Jr., referring to his controversial role in the “Tropical Thunder” movie. Now, before all the criticism begins to flourish in the comment section… here is another quote from an interview with Jamie Foxx: “If I read all of the comments, I would never tell another joke.” And you know what, I really think his words there make sense, and here is why.

I am an actor myself. I attended an acting school for some years, and have been performing on stage from time to time for about 10 years. Before I read the We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs article, when I would see a reaction GIF, the response in my head was something along the lines of: “Wow, this person just managed to pack an emotion into a relatable, few second looping video. He/she is either very-very talented, and has an incredible character, or this is just a super lucky ‘accident’ that was caught on camera. In any case, good for him/her.” Now, after reading the previously mentioned article, the thoughts in my head are more of this type:”Ok, so is a black or a white person, how many people had their feelings hurt solely because of the existence of this GIF, does the pictured person even want this type of ‘fame’, how many people have used this GIF to hurt someone else?”

While I agree that many of the questions, which came up in my head after I read the article, are important, there are a few things I want to point out. First of all, out of the billions people in this world, there is literally nothing that exists, that wouldn’t hurt someone’s feelings. Secondly, at times, some people that are just mean. Unfortunately, this is the not-so-nice part of the important balance of everything in life. And finally, it is time we all understand that once you record something, or simply make a version of something in a digital format, you are placing it at risk of both public viewing and public interpretation.

Posted from DIG 101 Blog by Andriy M.