Black Twitter Turns Shaun King a Whiter Shade of Pale


Shaun King’s dramatic, inevitable fall from grace has continued beyond a weekend that saw him in open warfare on social media with his fellow leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. Unfortunately for King, things are getting worse for him. Black Twitter has turned against him.

Black Twitter is the general name for the large community of black Twitter users that make up the bedrock of hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter. A study by Pew shows that the percentage of black Americans using Twitter is almost double that of white Americans (26 vs. 14 per cent), along with the more critical fact that among Twitter users, black Americans are nearly three times as likely to use the site daily than whites (11 vs 3 per cent).

Black Twitter is characterized by witty and sometimes acerbic jokes, and is considered by some sociologists to represent the 21st century version of signifyin’, the traditional black American form of wordplay which relies on hyperbole, double meanings, and insults.

The combination of black Twitter’s size, activity, and penchant for mockery makes it a fierce enemy indeed. In King’s case, black Twitter is pointed squarely at him, like the Luger 9mm pistol he tweeted about lovingly before wiping his Twitter account and pretending to be anti-gun.

The following are just a sample of the tweets happening today, which range from insults and jokes to the practically unthinkable — young black Americans tweeting out links to this author’s articles on their former guiding light. I am including a selection of my own tweets because, let’s face it, if anyone is an honorary member of black Twitter today it is your humble correspondent, and not Mr. King.

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