SACRAMENTO, CA — California's legislature has been weighing $5 million in reparations for eligible residents, but in the meantime has passed a less controversial stopgap bill: $5 million in reparations for any black person who has experienced "digital blackface," in which a white person uses a black person's likeness in a GIF.
"Both the legislature and executive office are proud to enshrine into law this protection from the dehumanizing trauma of digital blackface, saving BIPOCs from the cruel injustice of being appropriated in GIFs." California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke to gathered reporters after the bill-signing ceremony, turning the bill around to show off his signature.
"Justice, digital justice, has finally been served."
Advocates say this is a solid start in accounting for the systemic digital cultural appropriation experienced by black Californians, but some have called for more preventative measures. "Why do white people even have access to a gif keyboard that allows them to digitally appropriate blackface? $5 million is a start, but it's still reactive – we need proactive solutions." CNN's article went on to demand that white users be banned from GIF keyboards that include black characters, allowing black users to have their own GIF keyboards.
At publishing time, the California legislature announced plans to redress the issue at the root and has since introduced a bill creating "separate but equal" GIF keyboards for white and black users.
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