#IfiWasBlackonTwitter

Read that hash tag again and you will soon realize exactly what this post is about. While that may seem like something bad, it’s something that trends on twitter almost once every week. I am not black, but rather Caucasian. The thing that makes it amusing to me and sometimes maybe it’s bad is that a lot of African Americans that use that hash tag will get angry or mad at a person if they use that tag. 

There has become a divide in my opinion in terms of how black people use twitter and how white people use twitter. While the common ground is often for sports, news and word events that are happening or trending, we use twitter in different methods. Take for example the fact that there is something like #IfiWasBlack trending on twitter. If this comes back to a Caucasian male that began that topic, half the people on twitter would cry foul! This is racism, why are they allowed to start this on twitter, somebody stop them! This in my opinion has turned into the same type of thing as white people using the “N” word with friends being basically unheard of and “disgusting and degrading” but when a black male uses it, it’s ok. I don’t think that trends such as this should even be going on twitter in the first place because it leads to a lot of hostility when you come across the wrong person.

The reason why this is something that I can relate to is due to my current place of work. I work with ex-cons and people that have just been released out of prison within a few years. For most of them, our job is the first job that they have since being released. Most of them are of African American descent. My curiosity was peaked one day when one of the men there (22 years old) came over by my computer and showed me some of the people he followed and the stuff he tweets. It was NOTHING compared to what I was doing on twitter. His hash tags consisted of #ShitBlackPeopleSay #YouKnowYoureBlackWhen, you get the point. Things like this would come off as racist if I was starting it as a trending topic but the way black people use twitter, this is an everyday type of thing.

I don’t mean any disrespect to anybody but the facts are there and the article by Farhad Manjoo (How black people use Twitter) proves pretty much the same exact thing .This isn’t necessarily a negative but it does bring up the point of what is appropriate? If we can get fired for complaining about our boss online and on Twitter, should this be something that companies look at also?

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18 thoughts on “#IfiWasBlackonTwitter

  1. I think there is a double standard when it comes to what people of a certain ethinicity can say that is not allowed for people of a different ethnicity to say. For example, I agree with your opinion that if you started a trending topic of #stuffblackpeoplewould say, people would think that would be racist because you are not African American. I do believe that most African Americans do start these types if trending topics such as the ones stated above simply because they can relate to them and may just be having fun, though, it can be seen as if African Americans would be making fun of themselves as well as stereotypical references about themselves. In response if companies should look at this or not, and some probably would disagree, I think they should. However, if companies look at what you post online they should look at everything and not just base everything off of a single tweet.

  2. I definitely think that different groups of people are going to Tweet differently. However, just because some black people tweet like this, doesn’t mean they all do.
    Also, I think you’d find this kind of trend with all different types of people. You could have an infinite amount of subgroups that different people would fit into. For example, I’m sure you can categorize a group of people who tweet pictures of their lunch or Starbucks coffees and not a lot of black people would be in there. It’s a trend that usually follows white, teenage, hipster kids. But does that mean that we really need to categorize them as a “special” group of tweets? Probably not.
    The problem I had with the article was that it was just a straight forward “How Black People Use Twitter.” Of course in the article it mainly talked about African American teens, but the title makes it sound like it encompassed all black people. It’s wrong to assume that all black people on Twitter tweet like that, just like it would be wrong to assume that all white people post pictures of their Starbucks coffees. We really don’t need to be separating people into subgroups on Twitter in my opinion.

  3. No social network is used “appropriately”. The meaning of social networks is different to everyone. One might think those hash tags are appropriate, while others look at it as why is a person posting or hash-tagging something like that. I think most trends on twitter are stupid, whether they relate to a race or not.
    Twitter hash-tags no. For companies to look at that is out of line. Hash tags are meaningless! It’s something people do for fun or because its trending. However, I also believe companies shouldn’t even look at people’s social network when it comes to hiring and firing, but that is a different topic.

  4. It really does feel like if you are black, and you if you tweet the type of hash tags like you mentioned, then it’s all fine and dandy and no one really cares. But, if a different ethnicity tweets the hash tags, then they can easily be criticized by black people. Double standards really are controversial, and that’s what makes twitter, and other websites like reddit.com or Facebook, sometimes unbelievable. People can get away with some really silly things, but if they were of a different race, then it wouldn’t be ok. I don’t think companies should look at instances like these because I feel like they shouldn’t be able to monitor employees tweets or Facebook posts in the first place.

  5. Interesting blog post! Personally, I don’t think this is something companies should look for as well. The waters are too murky and things could go downhill, fast, if anyone tried to stop a black person from tweeting something about a stereotypical black person.

    I do see where you’re coming from, and you raise a good argument, but in some ways I disagree. I am Arab-American, and I will be the first to make fun of my culture or point out the bad stuff. And is there anything wrong with that?

    I don’t get mad when people point out something that’s frustrating with my culture — if they’re right, then they are right! I’m not about to say it myself, but not allow the white guy or the black guy next to me agree with me or contribute.

  6. I know it sounds cliche and all, but just look at the history. To say “I’m proud to be black!” is something not too many people are going to put up a fuss over. But if I said “I’m proud to be white!” plenty of people would raise their eyebrows in my direction. Of course, this can be explained through the still very recent history of racism in the United States. We have not yet reached a racial “equilibrium” even if we like to believe we have. It shouldn’t matter to companies who we follow on twitter. Why would it matter if a white person follows black person things or vise versa? What difference would it make? I’m primarily german, mexican, and french. Does that mean I can make fun of all of those backgrounds or none of them? We shouldn’t take that kind of thing seriously if it’s not hostile.

  7. As I said before I think companies should limit the amount of access and control they have over one’s personal life outside of work. If it is causing them to lower their performance on the job then that is the only exception. Using an offensive hashtag on Twitter generally has no effect on job performance. This does not mean however that these types of hashtags are appropriate but there really isn’t much you can do about it. Most people can’t understand why black people would even want to be associated with these hashtags. I think it has something to do with the fact that people tend to make fun of themselves as a defense mechanism. If black people start referring to themselves as the “N word” it loses some of its power perhaps? There are certainly double standards out there and it’s because the perception is people get treated differently based on their race, gender, etc. I don’t like how the “How black people use Twitter” article this week categorizes all black people under the same label. There may be patterns and trends but it is wrong to say an entire race acts the exact same way; it simply just is not true. It is however interesting that the data shows this type of phenomenon but like the article said it can be misleading. Some people make profiles pretending to be black for example.

  8. So I think it’s interesting that people need to so quickly stereotype and group how Twitter is used by different races. I could say that white people post selfies and pictures of their food all of the time, but ya know that’s not accurate. Not every white person does that. Grouping people into categories like this is wrong. I hated that article for that reason. It should’ve been titled, “How some black people are using Twitter.”

    I do agree that there is a double standard when it comes to celebrating race.

  9. I think that people post things on twitter and use certain hash tags not because of race but because of social class and age. Most of these posts are not started and carried on my older or married men; they are created and spread through the twitter sphere by teenagers and people in their 20’s. I don’t think that using a hash tag like that brings about much concern to employers, but like all things online we have to be careful we don’t take things too far. There is a line that can’t be crossed with anything, unfortunately there is no real one, it’s kind of like an unwritten rule applied to the rule less internet.

  10. Everyone has different opinions on things. When people are using social media they are not always serious about everything they post. I think this results in a disadvantage towards people who are young and still wanting to apply to jobs and not finished with school. If a boss gets mad at you for posting stuff about them on twitter or facebook, which I believe they have the right to. What makes you think that being racist against others wont push you down on the list for being a good applicant. Everything is seen by everyone even if you don’t believe it. Always be careful with what you post, because it can cause to serious setbacks in your life.

  11. I do think that companies and employers look at your social networks, so we shouldn’t be saying or “hash tagging” unnecessary things. I personally rarely use hashtags because I don’t see the point of them. A lot of people on twitter are young, and aren’t at their prime in their careers yet so future employers seeing these hashtags may decide not to hire that particular person anymore. If I had a company and I saw one of my employee’s using unnecessary hashtags it would make me think twice about them as a person, but not necessarily a bad person for their position at the company. I do think that these kind of things reflect the individual person, and if you don’t want people categorizing you then you shouldn’t post these things to begin with.

  12. I mean people can really be fired for anything. It can be due to just “inappropriate comments” or whatever a boss decides. I mean it is hard to specify what is acceptable. Hardly anything people talk about online is good or something positive. For that reason, I think it is hard. It’s difficult to decide what is appropriate, but people really just need to use their best judgment when it comes to everything they say online. If one wants to voice their opinion, they should do it wisely and be ready for the comeback. Sometimes it’s best to think things through online before saying them.

  13. I definitely agree that there is a double standard for racism on social media. This double standard is not limited to social media because it has had roots in our culture for more than a hundred years. The way people think and act is only amplified when it comes to social media, but for people of certain ethnicities, they keep these comments to themselves fearing backlash. As for employers looking at this information, I don’t think there should be a huge change. If an employer wants to “creep” on a potential employees statuses to see what they say over the web, I think it is perfectly fair. If they don’t like what they see then they obviously shouldn’t hire you since you are still the same person (physical being not personality) in person as you are online.

  14. I understand what you are saying and I don’t think this is offensive. I would just say I think that all races are a little bit different in how they act to each other and how they act to others. On social media it is no different. Just a different outlet for this to happen. It may not be okay for someone to make fun of me for being Italian but if it was someone in my family I would understand because they are the same as me and therefore I would know there isn’t any harm intended. If someone that isn’t Italian wants to say all italians are this or that, then sure that is wrong. A recent issue like this was the Tiger Woods Sergio Garcia incident where Sergio made a comment about fried chicken that was over the line but he apologized and rightfully so because he knew speaking about a stereotype of another race was wrong. So I don’t think saying things about a race are okay if its your own race, just it’s a bit more understandable i would say.

  15. I’m not convinced this is race issue or a divide in how people tweet, so much as an outlet for people to express their own individuality. I’m quite sure not all African Americans use these types of hashtags; many, like the rest of the Twitter world have fairly standard ones that most likely relate to who they are or what they do. I bet if we looked hard enough we would find equally crazy and potentially racist hashtags for all ethic groups. It a hunch, but I bet we would discover hashtags that are funny, serious, racist, and down right nasty across the board. I’m not sure I would lump an entire race in a specific category based on a few hashtag names

  16. I think the term digital divide and usage conformity are getting confused here. Isn’t one of the internet’s value propositions that it allows users to find and interact with people with shared interests and backgrounds? Who is anyone to judge the style or content of those interactions? I certainly wouldn’t want someone to tell me how I should speak to my family and friends while I sit on my porch, just like I don’t want people telling me who/what I should follow or tweet on twitter. If differences in style and content are now called a divide, then I say division is good and long live the internet.

  17. There are a lot of people that get offended when hash tags in Twitter are used similar to when people of one race get offended if a person from a different race uses slurs against his or her race, example the ‘N’ word for African-Americans. The only thing that I can tell you is that we have to respect each other by not using the word or tag. Personally, I have African-American friends who are ok with the use of the “N-word” and others who are not. Another thing that we have to keep in mind is that people from the same race, culture or country relate better within social networks that cater to that race, culture or nationality; if a person outside of the target group uses that language, it will probably be considered an invasion of privacy.

  18. Double standards in what is politically correct have always existed. This idea that people of Caucasian decent do not use topics like this to me is kind of laughable. They might not say #IfIWasWhite but they most certainly comment on #rednecks. Also the line is not only race. Their is also a line between the tags of the rich and the poor. When you are discussing your life to the world of course your culture, race, nationality, hobbies, and wealth are all going to play into what you have to share. Tags like #FirstWorldProblems, #WRC, and #XG2D tell something not only about what you had to say but who you are. Personally my Instagram is filled with nothing but car pictures, but other people post pictures of the meals they eat. Everyone is going to use these new mediums of communication a little bit different that is the point.

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