For a long time now, the internet meme has been used as a replacement for original wit and imaginative ideas. Scroll through any forum or through people’s social media profiles; and you will come across numerous cheap-looking stolen images with kinda-funny text slapped over them. Instead of coming up with a clever quotable or creating a funny image or video yourself; you can quickly post these no-effort, no-brainer memes in an effort to look or seem amusing.
Image-based memes are usually intended to be funny, however like most “comedy” these days, they usually resort to prejudice and offensive stereotyping. The worst of these are the “niggas be like” memes, a horrid concept which aside from its format; would be more at home in the early twentieth century.
Thanks to Hip-Hop slang (and rappers’ complacency for its use) white people now think it’s okay to say “niggas” when they are referring to friends or acquaintances. However, couple this with derogatory text and insulting imagery; and the result is one of the most appalling racist phenomenons of recent times. Look at these memes on any social media site or app, and you would be forgiven for thinking you’d travelled back fifty or sixty years. Aside from being digital, these “niggas be like” memes look more at home alongside images of golliwogs and minstrels. They are the kind of crap that ignorant idiots look back and say “oh my god, I didn’t realise they were offensive!”
We now live in a time when we are told by the media that prejudice is a thing of the past; we’re not homophobic, we’re no longer sexist, and racism doesn’t even exist. In the real world however; we all know this is complete bullshit. Having a black president and a swath of gay characters on television does nothing to stop prejudice. Just because we suppress old cartoons and TV shows, there will always be a section of society who think it’s humorous to mock minorities. With these internet memes largely being public; at least you can use them as an indicator to someone’s true thoughts and unfollow them right away.
Black And White Memestrels.