Brown Twitter Bird: a reaction to "How Black People Use Twitter"

Some who were the subject of a recent Slate piece titled "How Black People Use Twitter" were annoyed at being referred to as a monolithic, homogeneous group.

From this, #browntwitterbird sprang forth.'s original post, and search the hashtag—sorry! the blacktag here. (via Farai Chideya)



  1. Slate is full of trolling clickbait like that article. Responses like browntwitterbird’s, although necessary, also have the unfortunate side effect of boosting Slate’s SEO rank. Big sigh.

  2. “…were annoyed at being referred to as a monolithic, homogeneous group. ”

    From the article:
    “Given that these hashtags are occurring in a subgroup of black people online, it is probably a mistake to take them as representative of anything larger about black culture. “

  3. yeah. this is one huge racist troll. no valid points. fake outrage. all meant to stir up emotion in idiots.

  4. I don’t understand this. I don’t twitter but those sound like hashtags i might add to and probably have no idea i was in a “black” tag…

  5. We can still generalize about what (for example) women, Muslims, and “workers” think and do and say, though, right?

    Someone needs to come up with an authoritative list of which groups can and can’t be treated monolithically, since apparently the answer isn’t “none.”

  6. I found the article pretty interesting. I’d like to read more about the thinking that ‘black’ social interaction norms lead to groups which naturally structure themselves in a way that trip out the trending topics recognition algorithms, but instead we’re talking about race.

  7. You know I’m more concerned about how people use cellphones and choose to stand out. What is it with that group that chooses to talk on their phone like it was a walky talky? You know, phone to ear to listen, then phone in front of their face to talk, then back to ear, etc.

    1. I’m even more concerned about the people who have an actual walkie-talkie mode and lay the cell phone down on their table in a restaurant and scream at it in between bursts of static.

      1. What about people who walk around like zombies talking so loud and clearly into their Bluetooth headsets or iPhone headphones you stop a beat to figure out if they are talking to you?

        Also, white people Tweet like stealth warriors. Never forming groups. Yeah, right….

    2. I know, right? I’ve observed this time and again (first informally, and then systematically for an ethnography project). And there’s the whole holding-it-delicately-twixt-forefinger-and-thumb business. I am baffled by how this came to be a thing for a whole group of people.

  8. I have been discussing this topic for almost two years now at my Holder Challenge Web site, a discussion on race relations prompted by the Attorney General’s call for dialog. On my site, I explain why I consider myself Black even though I don’t even have any obvious Brown in me, much less Black. I also riff on the absurdity of the Census requiring folks to choose between black and white — which I crossed through and put Caucasian, by way of protest.
    The Holder Challenge

  9. I don’t understand how anyone uses Twitter…

    And yes, the Grace Jones bird rocks almost as much as the lady herself.

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