The Miseducation of Black Twitter: Why It's Not What You Think

The Miseducation of Black Twitter: Why It's Not What You Think

But does any of this sound remotely different from “White Twitter?” When Lindsay Lohan gets arrested for the 97th time, Twitter users talk about it. When Kristen Stewart cheats on that dude from Twilight, she is roasted repeatedly. When Justin Bieber does anything, his fans sit there and obsess over it until he gives them something else to marvel over in another hour.

Perhaps what piques the interest of people who don't identify with Black Twitter is its uniqueness to black culture. Yes, I’m one of those people who dare to continue identifying things as “culturally Black.” I don’t operate in this fantasy world of “post-Blackness.” 

I find it intellectually dishonest when people act as if things can’t be culturally Black. Likewise, it’s annoying when some black people point out how different they are by detaching themselves from certain aspects of that culture. We are not a monolith. Not listening to 2Chainz isn’t the same as buying bleaching cream from a beauty supply store, blah, blah, blah. Is that debate finally settled now? 

Worse are those who have bought into the notion that different means deficient, resulting in Black Twitter bearing a negative connotation.

Take for instance, @YoungFlynMommy’s tweet. She “jokingly” describes her desire for a white person to “deliver” her from Twitter.

Or @illumiNAUGHTI’s quip, where she equates “Black Twitter” with “coonery.”

Apparently, in the eyes of some blacks, only our race has members who occasionally engage in antics that can be deemed bad, ugly, stupid, crazy, or anything else that might perpetuate a stereotype. It’s the kind of self-loathing that resonates among black people in varying ways. I can’t cure one's own conditioning, but I can hit unfollow on Twitter when remnants of it hit my timeline.

I noticed long ago that quite a few people have listed me under Black Twitter. I never take offense to it the way others have, because I know that black people have made viable contributions to the larger culture, and Twitter is yet another instance of that. The sooner more recognize that, the sooner we can begin to have more worthwhile conversations about race and culture on Twitter. 

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones.

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