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#Twitter meme identifies things that feel racist, but technically aren’t

#Twitter meme identifies things that feel racist, but technically aren’t

Raising American flags sometimes also raises red flags.
Raising American flags sometimes also raises red flags.
Image: John Greim / LightRocket via Getty Images

What’s something that ISN’T a joke but still FEELS like a joke to you?

A new Twitter meme has users listing things that feel suss to them, despite being fairly innocuous on the face of it. Subtler than microaggressions, these objects and actions don’t hold any particular connotations at first glance, but are so frequently accompanied by certain behaviour that they’re now guilty by association.

It’s the doctrine of joint criminal enterprise, but with bigotry.

The meme was kicked off on Tuesday by Twitter user abcdrih, who asked, “What’s something that ISN’T racist but still FEELS racist to you?”

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Her own examples included white men in flip flops, jorts, “those small white karen ass dogs,” and people who don’t wear face masks.

This question prompted a plethora of deeply relatable answers, with mainly people of colour listing the seemingly innocuous things that set off their alarm bells. 

Whether everything mentioned isn’t actually racist is debatable, but there’s no denying the xenophobic vibes they radiate. 

A white girl wearing hoop earrings driving a pickup truck with a bull bar isn’t bad on the surface. Some people may consider decorative cotton and live laugh love-style cursive font to be charming home decor. But to others, they scream Get Out.

The meme format has since spawned a number of spinoffs, with Twitter users asking what other things evoke a quality they don’t actually possess.

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Again, whether all of these aren’t what they appear to be is contentious. Some things that feel homophobic are, in fact, homophobic. But by and large, this meme speaks more to the instinctive identification skills that people in marginalised communities often develop out of sheer self-preservation.

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By Amanda Yeo

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