Sharing Oprah memes from Meghan Markle interview is ‘digital blackface’, social justice charity claims

SHARING Oprah memes from her interview with Meghan Markle is "digital blackface," according to a social justice charity.

The organization, The Slow Factory, made the claim earlier this week, days after Oprah Winfrey's wide-ranging interview with Markle and Prince Harry aired.


Photos of Oprah's reactions during the interview, particularly her response when the Duchess of Sussex said that the royal family was concerned about "how dark" she and Harry's child would be, have been making the rounds online in the days since the interview aired on Sunday.

Oprah's reactions have been made into countless memes and shared all over Twitter and Instagram, and environmental and social justice foundation The Slow Factory is saying this is a prime example of "digital blackface."

The organization explained the issue as, "an online phenomenon where white and non-Black people share gifs and photos of Black folks to express emotion or reaction to anything happening on the internet.

"While seemingly harmless, the problem with digital blackface is that if often reinforces negative stereotypes about Black folks such as they're aggressive, loud, sassy, and simply here for your consumption and entertainment.


"It is another way people try to co-opt Black identity and culture without any of the day-to-day realities of being Black."

While the post was met with applause from many commenters, thanking the organization for shedding light on an issue they had not considered before, others were quick to call restricting people to only posting memes of others who match their own race "divisive."

"I think when white people *disproportionately* use reaction gifs depicting black people it's cause for reflection," wrote one user. "But to say that non-Black people using reaction gifs depicting black people is racist 100% of the time is nuts."

Another user pointed out that the organization's post sheds light on how photos of Oprah and Markle – two black women – have been getting the meme treatment, while Prince Harry's reactions in the interview have been shared much less widely.

"I think it's helpful specifically with the Oprah example for white [people] to ask why images of Harry are not being meme-ified and circulated to the degree Oprah and Meghan's images are," the user wrote.

"Anything can be memed yet it's the faces of the two black women sitting in the garden who white/non black internet users and media outlets feel like they want to 'relate' to in some way."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex interview with Oprah featured several bombshells about their decision to step back from the British royal family.

Markle revealed that while they were working royals, she reached a point where she "did not want to live anymore" and sought mental health support.

She said she was told that seeking help "wouldn't be good for the institution."

Buckingham Palace is reportedly looking into the allegations that the Duchess reached out for mental health assistance and was not given it, as well as the claims of racism among senior royals.

Markle said that Harry "saved" her by making the decision to ultimately step back from the royal family.

The couple are now expecting a second child, which they revealed in the interview with Oprah will be a girl.

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