~buy our swag~

Why pictures of white people terrify us Racist internet trolls are posting pictures of groups of white people to sow division and otherize folks of color in an era where we expect representation. We have receipts.

You know the situation. You scroll through your feed and come across a photo of a gathering of people. Something is off about the photo, and it makes you uncomfortable. It’s probably a family photo, but you can’t shake the feeling that something is terribly wrong.

Is it a sixth sense? Womanly intuition? Are those children alright?

You continue scrolling, but the photo has shed its slimy glitter on your consciousness. Something inside you is somehow in need of repair, or a tub of ice cream.

And then it hits you.

The photo contained only white people, with folks of color conspicuously absent.

Our Democratic pretense of togetherness and multiracial peace and happy was…just…that. A pretense. A group of people had found themselves, intentionally or not, in a situation where there was a complete snuffing out of diversity. And they celebrated it. Picture-worthy, even.

The sheer banality of it is what makes it so disturbing. It probably happens millions of times a day; it is the backrooms of our reality. The photos are jarring because they upend our fundamental expectations. In a world that is increasingly diverse, we expect to see people of all colors represented in every aspect of life. When we see a photo that is entirely white, it feels like a step back in time — a reminder of a time when people of color were excluded and Otherized.

The real shotgun blast to the psyche is the hubris with which these photos are posted to social media, in front of thousands of people. Thousands of people of color, too — the gleefully excluded.

The totality of what I have just described is a phenomenon known as whiteout, and it’s a growing trend on social media for all the wrong reasons. Beaming diversity-excluding photos across the internets is causing psychic harm to folks of color whether the poster is naive or intentional, and that’s why it’s so malicious.

And there are many malicious actors in this. For years, blackpill incels on the depraved message board 4chan have been posting pictures of smiling white people — often in sunlit environments and with a golden retriever — in an effort to terrorize people of color.

Consider this archived 4chan thread (of a thousand similar ones) admonishing trolls to flood social media with whiteout pictures:

>You set up a burner account.
>Post pictures of white families and children.
>Watch as the left erupts in racist hate of whites and social media does nothing about it.

Part of the allure of the tactic to these creatures is its simplicity. Whiteout-inducing photos can be created from real family photos — graduation photos from 20+ years ago are also popular — or even deliberately designed with AI, all in a sick quest to make folks of color and their Allies feel uncomfortable and anxious online.

If you think it’s a harmless prank, consider that whiteout photos can trigger a sense of intimidation and demoralization in marginalized communities — especially ahead of elections. It’s a way to remind folks of color that the world is still very much designed for white people, and that diverse folks are not truly welcome in many spaces. Every sighting of a whiteout photo reinforces the idea that white people are the default and that people of color are Other.

Whiteout photos are also a very advanced form of gaslighting that makes unwitting people act as perpetrators, and creates division on the progressive side of politics. When people of color point out the lack of diversity in these photos, they are often met with responses such as “I don’t see color” or “I don’t see any difference.” This makes people of color feel like their experiences and feelings are invalid, and that their perspectives do not matter.

As well, in true troll style, the images are often posted anonymously, making it impossible for victims to confront the perpetrators. This only adds to the already immense fear and anxiety felt by marginalized communities.

So the next time you come across a whiteout photo, please resist the urge to share it or give it any attention, even if the poster is an unwitting friend. If you fail to do so, you’re perpetuating a racist troll campaign from the internet’s darkest corners, and you’re also de-legitimizing the progressive Allies that we as Black folks need to stay alive. Only through a zero-tolerance policy on these harmful materials can we create a more inclusive and equitable online environment.

P.S. support great journalism of color by buying our swag:

Sorry, Afrunauts! While 85% of you are wonderful people, the other 25% were far too frequently brigades and troll farms. Their abusive comments have traumatized our moderators, and so we can't allow comments until we have built an ethical way to address the troll problem. If you feel the calling and you have familiarized yourself with what is and isn't free speech, you can still email us your scribbles. If your feedback is excellent, we may manually add it!

4 thoughts on “<span class="entry-title-primary">Why pictures of white people terrify us</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">Racist internet trolls are posting pictures of groups of white people to sow division and otherize folks of color in an era where we expect representation. We have receipts.</span>”

  1. The utter lack of intelligence in this “article” is both disturbing and oddly hilarious.

    It’s OK to be White.

  2. You hate white families. You hate white people. You remind me of what the nazis dreamed of being.

    We are all armed. Remember that when you chimp out over seeing pictures of white families together. Your mother picked your lack of a father, so did 75 of black women picked their children’s many different absent baby daddies. Your culture.

  3. This is like that OK hand sign. It used to be innocent but 4chan changed its meaning and turned it into a weapon. It’s not OK.

  4. The lengths these micropeen gutter gremlins will go to to harass us in our own envirenments. it’s just defies explanation.


Say your thing 💅

Get our best content

~max once a week~