Marginalized Communities and Social Media

Social media can be a useful tool to help us establish and maintain relationships with people all around the world, but it can also be a dangerous place to exist, especially for marginalized communities. 

Twitter Socialmedia Photo” by Wilfred Iven is marked with CC0 1.0.

In 2014, several far-right trolls on 4chan were exposed for impersonating Black women on Twitter and attempting to make that particular community look bad, as explained in this article from Slate. These anonymous trolls were eventually called out by Black feminists online, who had used the resources and tools they had to fight back against racist and misogynistic hatred they were receiving online.

In 2019, there was a similar situation where an account with the username @emoblackthot received heavy criticism for revealing that this account was run by a Cisgender Black bisexual male, and not a Queer Black women as they had previously stated.

This user was known for sharing her struggles as a Queer Black woman, and they had gained a large following of mostly Queer people and people of color, especially Black women. These followers had felt like they had a strong connection with this user, and it was a safe space for them to share their struggles and their identities. 

After revealing his true identity to Paper Magazine, several followers on Twitter expressed their frustrations about this situation. As demonstrated in this article from The Guardian and this article from Paper Magazine, which was published just five days after the reveal took place, many Black women felt betrayed and upset that this person had violated their trust.

The fact that both of these instances include people who are not a member of these particular marginalized communities trying to claim identities and struggles that they have not had to gain many followers online.

Overall, it is important that we make social media a safe place where people from all different backgrounds can express themselves and connect with one another without harm. Platforms such as Twitter can be a great place to connect with other people who share the same struggles and experiences as us, but it is important to be mindful of how we interact with people online.

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