Black Twitter Gets a Wikipedia Page


(The Root) — The recent fascination with what has come to be known as "black Twitter" continues with the recent creation of a Wikipedia article on the topic.

Some have been wary of the very naming of "black Twitter" from the start, since making it an official thing seems to reinforce the status of blacks as the societal "other." What is it about blackness that seems to keep us under a microscope? Why doesn't anyone care as much about Indian Twitter or Russian Twitter? Why does everyone seem so bent on making sure that blacks are ever reminded of how they're different by studying and picking apart the completely normal things they do?

It could be an innocent attempt by those on the outside to understand and make tangible something that they are not a part of, but for some of those on the inside, white interest in black Twitter feels voyeuristic. The attention, for them, has gone from interest to fascination to fetish, and the Wikipedia article, for some, seems misguided and unnecessary and best, as well as  an effort to contain, categorize and, at worst, control.

Central to the discussion has been the matter of who wrote the "Black Twitter" Wikipedia entry. Twitter user @Karsh has identified the writer's Wikipedia handle, which belongs to a seasoned Wikipedia contributor widely believed to be a white woman. This added an extra layer of discomfort — it typically rubs black folks the wrong way when white folks attempt to speak as authorities on black culture.


It also calls motive and accuracy into question, as Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) comments: "Most of the people writing professionally about 'black Twitter' have been white dudes, and so most of the 'verified facts' are coming from sources that may not be the best ones." Bouie also notes that "for something to be a 'fact' on Wikipedia, it needs to exist verified by a reputable source."

Not everyone has beef with the article, though. Some found the entry interesting and, if nothing else, a good start to a more comprehensive article later down the road. After all, as @Karsh points out, if you don't like it, you're free to change it.


@Wikipedia entrry for black twitter remarkably even-handed:

— lloyd johnson (@lloyd2nd) August 21, 2013


Tracy Clayton is a writer, humorist and blogger from Louisville, Ky.

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