Georgia NeSmith
2 min readJan 21, 2020


Photo by Alex Nemo Hanse on Unsplash

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I hadn’t thought of it as blackface, but I see how that can ring true.

I’ve been using both black and white images, picking the ones that seem most appropriate for the content, and trying to use both equally as a sort of “affirmative action gifs.”

I’ve worked very hard tho to skip the gifs like the one of “Sweet Brown” and others that seem to me negative stereotypes. If my gut churns when I see them…nope. And I’m trying to train my gut to remember all that I am learning from black authors here and elsewhere [books, articles published in well known magazines, and social media]. The first time I saw the “Sweet Brown” video, I thought, oh hon, you sweet, hilarious woman using your humor to survive tragedy — this video is gonna get away from you and everyone else who cares. Your sweet character will be lost.

She should have been treated with compassion for all that she had lost & instead she became a caricature.

I didn’t use gifs for the longest while, but when I started & saw then [a few years ago] that they were almost all white, and I thought, “my gifs are going to be integrated!” [Old white lady with the best of intentions hadn’t quite thought thru it all.]

Do I have to give up this one with Viola Davis, star of Shonda Rimes “How to Get Away with Murder,” which I use to signal “I’m done with you. You have nothing of worth to contribute to this conversation. Bye” … to all the trump trolls [and a few hard lefties]?

I figure Viola Davis is very accomplished and admired, and she plays a professional role requiring great skill & knowledge. Not that ordinary folk would never do, but regardless they must evoke positivity.

Vola Davis: “I’m done.”

I try to pick the gifs of well-known successful black women [and sometimes black men, if they fit my content].

Like I said, “affirmative action gifs.”

What do you think about this tactic? I’m prepared to listen to and accept your advice. You know better than I do.

  • PS: have you noticed how difficult it can be to get appropriate images for race/racism on Unsplash? It interprets “race” as a car or horse race. There are 17 images for “racism,” only a couple of which connect image to the idea. Do you suppose this is because nearly all the contributing photographers are white? [Rhetorical question.] The one I’m using here is the best of the 17, I think. Tho I’d also like to have a male in it.



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.