TikTok and Black Voices: Diary of Systemic Injustices Showcase

An example of a systemic inequality that I have noticed recently is in social media and the lack of emphasis on black creators and platforms. I don’t really use much social media, but I do spend time on TikTok. I have recently noticed and heard discussion of the algorithms for this platform and how it identifies what videos to put on the “For You Page”. This company want to promote “viral” videos/videos that they deem to be viral-worthy in order to boost their views. It turns out that their algorithm is extremely preferential for white people and thus black people are not being represented and their platforms are not being discovered. A video I watched recently detailed how the typical facial recognition software determines “beauty” and it is supposed that faces/bodies that are recognized as inherently more appealing are given preferential treatment by the algorithm and get more views. It was noted that this software conforms mostly to caucasian and European beauty standards which is not only a problem in and of itself, but also means that black creators aren’t seen by the programming as having enough dark/light contrast, and thus receive a lower beauty score.

The systemic injustice in this is obvious – the literal systems we use are programmed (intentionally or not) to silence black creators and prevent them from being seen. This is infuriating for many reasons, but the problem that this development stems from is cyclical. TikTok doesn’t promote black creators because they don’t get as many views and “likes” as white creators, but by not promoting black creators they are simply perpetuating the problem and becoming the cause for the lack of views. This example relates most to Spivak’s concept of the subaltern. In this context, black people are able to control how they present themselves in their videos, but they are unfairly being denied the same representation as other white creators. So when questioning whether they can speak, I would say that black creators can speak, they are simply being ignored by some and consequentially unheard by others, which is in line with Spivak’s point.

Some examples of this are seen in this video (below) (7:00-17:00) which describes how some of the most popular, world-recognized dances created within the past several years, including the “Renegade”, were created by black and POC creators who received no credit whatsoever while other attractive white people received Hollywood-level fame for copying it.

This is not necessarily the fault of the people who were just replicating dances, but it does represent the systemic injustice present within social media platforms (and society at large) that create and use programs that view white faces as generally more presentable and desirable to watch, thus preferentially elevating the voices of white creators while silencing the voices of black creators.

10 thoughts on “TikTok and Black Voices: Diary of Systemic Injustices Showcase

  1. This is a very interesting topic to discuss for many reasons. First, I would not have even thought for a second that TikTok had some sort of algorithm that determines what gets on the for you page. I just thought it was the type of videos you liked the most mixed in with the type of videos other TikTok users enjoyed the most. It is very intriguing that the algorithm that is used detects a certain “beauty standard” and if you match then beauty standard then you can get put on the for you page. It is crazy to think that this algorithm can detect skin color as being a standard of beauty. It is also very unfair and discriminatory for TikTok to make an algorithm like this that separates African American individuals. It is also “sneaky” in a sense for TikTok to be discriminating against African Americans this way, and something has to be changed in American culture to recognize that African Americans are beautiful human beings just like everyone else.

  2. This was such an amazing choice for the showcase! TikTok has been a huge part of social media especially over the past few years. Recently this issue of the algorithm and not crediting the creators of these dances has been a big topic of debate that I have seen on other social media platforms. I think that the whole algorithm and detecting a certain beauty standard was something I did not know was as prevalent as an issue as it is. I think that bringing to light this issue is a great way to begin the conversation of educating people about systemic racism and injustices because this platform reaches a large part of the population.

  3. Metro shoes offers their customers the highest quality hand bags for girls and hand carry bags Get the best available ladies handbags in Pakistan, today So, buy only the best hand carry bags online from Metro shoes.

  4. Servis brings an amazing collection of Men Slipper online in Pakistan. They are typically made from soft and comfortable materials. Order your favorite slippers online in all over Pakistan at reasonable prices.

  5. Check out the best collection of luxury formals dresses for women at Sifa. Explore the variety of formal dresses online at Sifa. Order your favorite luxury dresses online at reasonable prices.

  6. Hive Metrics is the Best digital marketing agency that provides, SEO services, social media, technical services, and more. We focus on quality design, creative thinking, strong knowledge, standard practices, and progressive technology to develop distinctive solutions. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

  7. If you are looking for the best Hamilton pot stores, then you are at the right place. Royalleafs is a premier pot store in Hamilton. You can find online plenty of Cannabis products such as Cannabis pre-rolls, raw and milled flowers, drinks, and accessories such as bongs and vapes of the highest quality at Royalleafs.

  8. Step into style with our collection of formal shoes for women. Our selection features a variety of classic designs that are perfect for the office, special occasions, and everyday wear. Shop now for the best quality materials and comfortable fits.

  9. Let’s get blooming with House of flowers! Our wide selection of fresh flowers is sure to bring a smile to your face. Whether you’re celebrating a special event or just looking to add a touch of beauty to your home, our selection of high-quality flowers is sure to make an impression. With our unbeatable prices and free delivery, you’ll be able to find the perfect bloom for any occasion. Shop now and bring joy today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *