If you aren’t familiar with “Black Twitter”, you’re missing out. There’s really nowhere else on the Internet where you can find such a dynamic group of young (and not so young) Black folk, sharing thoughts on everything from police brutality and politics to what it means to “grow up Black.” So it was really no surprise when we attracted the (unwanted) attention of the LA Times. Recently, Managing Editor S. Mitra Kalita hired a Black writer by the name of Dexter Thomas to “cover” the “Black Twitter beat.” And the result was as disastrous as we (Black Twitter) had expected.
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) July 16, 2015
I gotta admit. I was afraid to click the link. I had been waiting to see what this guy had to say, but when it was finally right in front of me, I couldn’t bring myself to click it. Eventually, hours had passed and my curiosity wouldn’t let me hold out any longer.
I read it.
A sh*tload of emotions ran through my body while reading this piece, but the main two were confusion and disgust. Not only was the article poorly executed, it seemed like its sole purpose was to SHAME “Black Twitter.”
The author wasn’t highlighting the beauty of Black Twitter.The author was very purposely talking about the transphobia and homophobia that had been plaguing our community, both online and off. Thomas decided to focus on our opinions about Tyga’s cheating scandal with a trans woman, as opposed to the other more substantive topics discussed by our community on a daily basis.
That’s not the face of Black Twitter the media fawns over in articles with headlines like “Black Twitter Flexing Muscles On and Offline.” The phrase “Black Twitter” itself is a little strange because the community has plenty of non-black participants, but we insist on calling it black. Black Twitter, like every other online community, is a diverse and tangled mess of opinions. We would be doing the community an injustice if we pretended otherwise. In other words, Black Twitter looks an awful lot like White Twitter.
No. It doesn’t. Black Twitter doesn’t look anything like White Twitter. The fact that the author even fixed his fingers to type that lets us all know that he really has no idea what Black Twitter is, and certainly shouldn’t be on the “Black Twitter beat.” He simply isn’t qualified.
Sure, within Black Twitter, there are many White allies and friends, but does that make Black Twitter any less Black? No. To try and remove “Black” from the title and disassociate US from all of the great things that have come from our Twitter community is nothing short of insulting. WE are the reason #BlackLivesMatter happened, WE are the reason #YouOkSis happened, WE are the people that are asking police and government officials to be held accountable. #BlackWomenMatter happened because of us. WE tracked down the white woman who physically assaulted a little Black girl at a pool in McKinney after calling her a nigger. That’s US!
So, Dexter, how dare you? I’m beginning to feel like this was all a big stunt. You…a writer for one of the largest publications of all time, had the AUDACITY to write a piece on how monotonous Black Twitter is?! Who are you? Your voice is certainly not one I’ve seen on my TL. Are YOU even a PART of Black Twitter?
Then the “brotha” goes on to end his pointless rant with this:
So if we’re going to praise Black Twitter as a community that pushes us forward, then we have to also recognize when it takes a step back.
Is this a complete sentence? Is this a complete thought? Takes a step back from WHAT?
And according to Pew Research Center, 61% of Twitter users are white
Dexter, I think it’s YOU who needs to step back. Reflect. Think about what you’re doing here. And actually, let me correct you on some things. Black people are actually MORE likely to use Twitter than White people. According to the Pew Research Center, by May 2011, that gap was 16 percentage points—25% of online African Americans now use Twitter, compared with 9% of such whites, and the gap is still growing. So, basically, Black people USE Twitter more. And we use it in a way that most people do not. Which means are voices are HEARD more.
Dexter contends that Black Twitter “led the charge” against Tyga. But here’s what I found:
“African Americans are more likely to be on Twitter, and it looks like they’re more interested in celebrity and entertainment news than whites, which explains this difference,” said Eszter Hargittai, a co-author with Eden Litt of the study “The tweet smell of celebrity success.”
THIS means that we LEAD the charge on damn near everything. Black people are more in tuned with pop culture. I’d be willing to argue that we’re more in tuned with EVERY thing when it comes pop culture, social issues, politics, etc. Why? Because we have to be. We have to know what’s going on the world around us, because it affects us, a lot of times in a way that it doesn’t affect white people.
So basically, Dexter, what I have to say is this: You’re banned from Black Twitter. Go home. We don’t want ya. Like we would say on Black Twitter, we’re “getting you up outta here.” But you wouldn’t know nothin’ about that, now would ya?
You can read Dexter’s entire article here.