UH-OH: Did Snapchat Just Get Racist for 4/20?

Kyle Krajewski
April 20, 2016

Oh, Snapchat.  Snapchat.  Come on.  You were doing so well. 

You’ve got over 1.5 billion users, some killer new updates, and you’re becoming the preferred platform of that coveted demographic: millennials.

Yet today ~~4/20, man~~ you done went and got the Internet all riled up.

So this morning, I popped open my Snapchat app to check on my snaps, as I am very popular and cool and always have lots of new snaps, only to see this sent to me from my good friend Bruce:

Yikes.  This is stupid for two reasons:

  1. 4/20 is stupid.  What are you Snapchat, like 15 years old?  Cool, dude.  420. Hell yeah, I guess.  Sure I get it. You’re trying to be cool with the kids and all that jazz but seriously, grow up. 420 is as stupid as the ~~weed culture~~ that glorifies it.

2. Bruce was right: The filter can indeed be interpreted as racist.

I’m not here to give you a history lesson or be the “PC police” or anything, but for those of you who may not know: blackface was used in 19th and 20th-century minstrel comedy shows by white actors to proliferate negative and ultimately crippling racial stereotypes in mainstream American culture.  Today, it still serves a symbol of America’s deeply troubled past in regards to racism and how that past has led us to a present where millions of these Americans are still affected today.

Off to Twitter I went to see if the denizens of the internet were as riled up as I’d expected them to be.  Sure enough, they were.







I guess our lesson here is that while many of us are so concerned about what we are posting on these platforms, whether or not the posts will flop or offend someone, we have to remember that people just like us run the platforms themselves—and they can flop too.

After all, whether or not you find this filter to be offensive, if you piss off the internet, you’re going to be in a sticky situation regardless.