Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blackbird: A Racist(?) Web Browser

You couldn't make this stuff up. Oh wait, they did. Web developers have recently unveiled Blackbird, a new web browser that caters to the African American community. Using a FUBU (For Us, By Us) model "Blackbird was developed by a team of African Americans to allow you to connect to what's going on in the African American community." At first glance, I was immediately struck with a cognitive dissonance of epic proportions. On the one hand, I empathize with and understand the development team's ambition: to create an accommodating experience for African American web users. But on the other hand, WHAT... THE... FUCK!?!?

Here are a few of my reactions to Blackbird, the (potentially) racist web browser:

#1: Even web browsers are segregated now? I can already imagine the racial undertones in advertising: "Try Blackbird. It's faster". Oh, wait, they've got these already:

Y'hear that? Yes we can... Get Blackbird? Oh my... Stereotyping at its finest.

#2: Isn't this browser a bit insulting to African Americans? It's as if to say that they can't surf the web like other people. Like somehow they need some additional help to search the internet. And to the African Americans who do lack the skills -- like many members of other communities -- to search the net, won't this browser only make them dependent on Blackbird? What happens if they need to use the internet at work, a library, or anywhere else? I can already imagine some cracka-ass KKK members deeming this new browser "web-affirmative action" or a form of "web-welfare".

#3: Blackbird offers a tool they call "Black Search" which essentially brings up search results that "tailor to African American interests". I installed the browser to test out this feature and the results are quite astounding. I typed in the following in the search box: "Bruce Springsteen". I figured "Hmm... How much 'whiter' can it get?" The second search result was the YouTube link to a Springsteen song titled "Dancing in the Dark". I suppose any search with the word "dark" gets bumped up in the results list. Next, I tried a search for "President Bush". I'm not kidding you here; the first result I got was for a video clip of "President Black Bush", a hilarious skit from Chappelle's Show. Finally, I did a search on "Karl Marx". I was astonished to find that none of my results had anything to do with "Karl Malone". But aside from that, the results weren't too reassuring. Amongst the top results, I found (1) a forum post on AllHipHop.com (very helpful...), (2) a link to a book being sold on Amazon.com which claims that Karl Marx was a racist (if you're wondering, the title of the book is simply "Karl Marx, racist"), and (3) an article titled "Barack Obama, Black Liberation Theology and Karl Marx". I was amused to say the least. Hey, Black Search, I've got some web-slang just for you: FAIL!!1!

#4: I can assure you that as time goes on, just like everything else that African Americans create, White people will latch on to it and claim it as their own. Just wait and see, soon enough a majority of Blackbird's users will be comprised of the "white teenager" demographic. Soon enough.

#5: The BK MC wasn't jokin'! I think he might even be a prophet! Blackbird puts a whole new spin on a particular bar from Talib Kweli's "Supreme, Supreme": "Getting information from the nigga-net/". :P

#6: What's next? Web browsers for Asians, Hispanics? What about a web browser for White people? Oh, wait, that's been taken care of at WhiteBirdBrowser.com, clearly a spoof of Blackbird. The best part about White Bird is that it redirects you to Apple's Safari. lolz

I suppose we can all sleep soundly at night knowing that they didn't name it something like "Brozilla" instead.


  1. Unless you were DENIED ACCESS to the browser because you were NOT "Black" or were instructed to go TO THE REAR (thru the backdoor like a virus) of the portal to enter its virtual realm because you are NOT Black (LOL), then, Blackbird is NOT any more "racist" a browser than BET is as a cable network whose primary focus is "Black"-related programming (I've had that debate before as well).

    If anything, it's a niche marketing tool.

    Calm down. Fear of a "Black" Portal is a hasty response, IMO.

    Last I checked, Barack's victory did not end "racism" for "Blacks".

    We're still under-represented outside of the Hip Hop mediaspace.

    And if its operability is actually "faster" (in Olympic track terms is what you were getting at? LOL), I may have to check it out.

    Look at it this way:

    As it is ALREADY, nearly 95% of all images used to sell things are those featuring "white folks" online, in print and in "mainstream" media.

    So, if I saw a browser where most of the searches turned up Asian or Spanish topics & photos (and was designed to do so)- I wouldn't be bent out of shape about it because- as a fellow U.S. "minority"- I would understand why there would be an attempt to capitalize on a niche market.

    Additionally, he last thing "I" want to see is a "white-regulated-only" world wide web! Waitaminute!, it's already that way for more things than the information superhighway!

    Oh well, so what's a force-fed consumer to do?

    For me, calling Blackbird a "racist" browser is akin to gays saying that they are "the new blacks" (I'm far more than a duck sick or a punani lick, podna, is my reaction to the kind of unfulfilled-entitlement rhetoric that compares gay marriage rights to The "Black" Struggle- for one, gays just may have much hatred for straight Black males, themselves, because they cannot have us; but that's another story)- still calling Blackbird racist is diminishing the horrific effects of experiencing REAL racism and denial of economic equality and an insult to "Black" intelligence borne of our unique experiences in this country.

    THAT was MY first reaction to the reaction that was expressed about Blackbird. Unless you're being excluded from accessing its accomodations in any way because of your skin color, then, it's NOT racist.

  2. I laughed so much when I saw that this browser is powered by Mozilla. Have to love open source guys!!!

  3. it may not be racist but its def stupid

    whats next? an OS for asians? a phone for eskimos? cant we all just get along...

  4. Im kinda confused/bemused by this. How very strange.

    'gays just may have much hatred for straight Black males, themselves, because they cannot have us; but that's another story)'

    That part made me laugh. Arent there any black gays? Do gays hate all straight guys?

    Not necessarily disagreeing with your main points though.

    And do Africans only use Safari?

  5. I'm white and non-american, and as an outsider I find this disturbing:

    #4: I can assure you that as time goes on, just like everything else that African Americans create, White people will latch on to it and claim it as their own."

    Can you please elaborate.

  6. "gays just MAY have much hatred for straight Black males, themselves, because they cannot have us; but that's another story" (regarding my reaction to the "we're the new black" comments coming out of the Cali marriage protests)

    "That part made me laugh" (it was supposed to)

    THAT's my point!

    Which is:
    Pick your poison, ANYone could imply/apply just about ANY theory to ANY person, ANY group or ANY "issue" (they generate) and express a "pointed" concern over it- no matter how trite- and because the "premise" for the perception appears to be a mere knee-jerk response/reaction to something they may not fully understand, SOMEBODY more familiar with decoding the "misconception" may feel the impetus to respond in kind!


    Like I said before, be it a "an OS for asians? a phone for eskimos, etc." big deal... accept the fact that when opportunity comes for some veer away from the "norm" aka (the-white-dominated-you-name-it perspective or emotional response), it doesn't mean it's hateful or racist to WANT something that may CATER to YOUR specific group be you gay/straight/bi/black/white/latino or asian.

    Isn't that what Google AdSense is all about? Target marketing?

    The REAL color of major concern is always GREEN no matter who is targeted!

    Speaking about Google,

    The real winner here is Ivan, he got us talking about one of his posts!!!

    And what better topic to jumpstart a debate than "race"?

  7. soulguru: You're right. There's a problem with calling the browser "racist", per se. That's why I put a (?) after the word. My main problems with this concept is discussed in points #2 and #3.

    anon@3: Agreed. I think it is pretty silly...

    FD: "And do Africans only use Safari?" Ouch. Lol...

    anon@5: I was being a bit cynical in my writing style, but sure enough, there are several things that Black folks originate that White people inherit, so to speak, over time.

    Whereas Elvis is often attributed as a pioneer of rock 'n roll, the music of Little Richard and Ike Turner, an influential force in the genre, receives little to no recognition for their impact.


  8. b.e.t. is racist too you fool.... good lord some people have NO logic and even more so, no reason to deny something thriving of division by skin color, any REAL thinker would be appauled by all these same time of color dividing/money making schemes.

    it's not that the browser is racist, it's that every time some shit like this goes on, we step back hundreds of years anyway... some people are just stupid, while others are just ignorant, but most are just greedy. be it for fame, recognition, money ..blah blah blah

    this is about certain people catering to only one race... that is racist. and or just plain stupid among other things... fuckin idiots

  9. Ya got that right, BET is pretty racist too...

  10. Anonymous said...

    "b.e.t. is racist too you fool."
    Only an uninformed fool would say something like that. You just took yourself, "back hundreds of years" with your profane rant. Only when Viacom bought BET (post 1995) is when it began spiraling.

    Niche marketing is necessary, quit trying to "please your master", you sound like an indoctrinated puppet

    plus only "idiots" (your own characterization) have to cuss to make a point

    so, don't even THINK about switching up your ad hominem style after I expose your weak points- just be yer "non-critical-thinking-self-hating" self

    Plus, commenting as "Anon" implies COWARD

    whomEVER U R


  11. damn, sg. you're goin' all out!

  12. Ivan you and I agree on most things but I must agree with soulguru 100%. Its the same reason we have niche groups even on a university campus for instance. You've got Christian groups, muslim groups, jewish groups, black student unions, asian ones and so on and so forth. No one complains when ppl come together to create such groups, none of these groups exclude ppl from diff backgrounds than their own. As a matter of fact they encourage ppl to join to get to know the main idea behind it all...and I believe the case of BlackBird falls in to this.

    Of course the "yes we can" phrase seemed a bit trite but that's neither here nor there. Obama's rise to the Black House assured that some of his sayings would enter into pop culture.

  13. Also, you know you got Black Cupid advertised on your page mayne..lol.

  14. At the end of the day, it comes down to targeting specific demographics, plain and simple. If they can make a buck off the black market, then their logic for "Blackbird" will be sound.

  15. jesus.. soul guru is obviously some holier than thou cupcake. enjoy your high and mighty and 'know it all' views while the rest of us live in reality, laugh at you while feeling bad about it and in general actually live practically and logically instead of in some pseudo oppressed fallacy.

    b.e.t. and viacom they are both racist and greedy, they can be racist and stupid at the same time, selling their own "race" out to make a buck through advertisement doesn't make it non-racialy driven.

    replying or professing as anon means nothing more then you replying as 'soul guru'... that's not rocket science.

    having an opinion has no bearing on who you are to some stranger... get off your high horse and come back to reality.

    passion is good, over zealous and bitterly confused assholes are not needed so try not to be so loud about it soul;)

    if you wanna cry about name calling when CLEARLY it's not the point, then go ahead and continue to be an idiot.

  16. are you dumb deaf or blind about the reality of whom SOLD it to viacom? and who plays their bitch? besides their consumers?

    it's no excuse that viacom bought it.. if you want things to be segregated then build a time machine and get the hell out of reality;)

    the fact remains some people ARE just stupid. and some are just ignorant... etc

    don't add to them by existing in constant logical fallacy.

  17. ha. i agree, only an idiot would make it a point to say "you post as anon" .. like that takes away from anything. anon still has good points. in fact i think they are right and you are blurred by some bitter complex. good luck losing that whole mentality soul.


  18. bahaha at soul crying about the truth and calling it profane. now that is comedy and sad all at the same time.

    the only thing profane is your ability (soul) to put your head in the ground while somehow still trying to obtain some feeling of "i'm right"

  19. thanks for linking me here. this is ridiculous, fubu, great example of bitter business practices, b.e.t. perfect example of selling out one of the most powerful outlets a group has had in america, blackbird, sad example of a e-pop version of some black panther making a web browser... it's so sad.

    i don't care what color you are, when you make something for one group of people based of ideology then your immoral. this isn't about a niche consumer base. it's about "rising up" from what i'm not sure. it's 2008, it's america. stop living in the bitter stone age. you weren't even there when it was bad, there is always gonna be some yahoo, being a racist on any side of the fence. but fuck em' they're just idiots.

    simply sad

    suzy, i rarely agree with you, but this is so clear i almost felt bad just reading it all.

  20. this is classic.

    defending b.e.t. for any reason= failure

    defending black bird= failure

    defending your self from the truth by mislabeling it=failure.

    one suggesting, stop failing.

  21. LOL the kicker is on the blackbird blog, the runner of the blog writes about how B.e.t IS a success!.... jesus christ... a success in saturating/fucking up a whole genre of music and misleading a nation of youth... great job...


  22. sigh, secretly squeezing in the words, "black, dark, light skinned, african, afro," etc does not make this a good idea. in fact it seems that the premise is idiotic if the tactics are +black to every word/phrase searched in the wack bird search engine... pathetic.

  23. Look, Anon, it's simple

    Don't use it (LMAO), there.... problem solved

    wow, did I strike a nerve- or what?
    8 STRAIGHT posts!!! of babble

    "ba-ha!ha!" (like Pat Morita on Happy Days)

    "pseudo oppressed fallacy"(?)
    HEY! That's malapropism there. I thought it was YOU who feels oppressed about a browser (I'M the one saying that feeling oppressed about this is ridiculous), please don't PROJECT your perceptual inadequacies upon others, it's unhealthy, (man or ma'am)

    MC Lyte once said,

    "I keep my emotions in check, I KNOW who I am"

    Now, WHO are U, again?


  24. your pathetic man, you assume that i'm the only one that thinks your an idiot posing as an intellectual, all i did was post the topic on some random bored i go on, and poof they came here and in the span of a few minutes decided your in fact are an idiot regarding this.

    stop failing and start ignoring dumb ass;)

  25. i'm back, "don't use it" has got to be the stupidest response yet, it's not about using it or not, it's about EVERYTHING else you for some reason can't address.

    the same reason why people disucss why heroin is "bad"... the intellectual or even "right" answer/response is not "don't use it"

    @latisha, i can't believe th3 ego of this "soul" person to take repeated good points and write them off as babble just to feel "right", now i just feel sorry for him:(

    i had an ex boy friends that used to pull shit like that, poor guy has no clue about reality.

    call me about the party tomorrow night because all the plans have changed(no more surprise party because joel found out)


  26. ok, i'm late but one thing know for sure, is that it makes sense for girls to keep coming back and bicker, but for what seemed to be a grown man at first, this "soul" character is either effeminate as can be, completely drowning in self-o.c.d., obsessed with the internet and trying to feel good about having the e-last word, or in actuality a teenage girl! possibly a combination of all this! i'm sure there is no possible way "soul'" personality can resists posting a response, if you do at least address the GOOD points that you've arrogantly over looked:/

    personally if i were you, i'd just take the loss and walk away.

  27. You're not me, but that's your issue to ponder- not mine... since you're the one who brung that up.


    Now, after Anon (now posing as different posters, wow) is done "bickering" over my position, I still dismiss the original Blackbird hypothesis because there are MORE serious concerns than developing a browser that serves up either stereotypes or the greatest KKK hate speeches online or "all topics with Black text" or whatever.

    IMO, calling Blackbird "a racist browser" or a dumb/divisive idea is nothing but a red herring that generates "feel-good" rhetoric from Anonymous posters wearing rose-colored glasses in their "2008 race-free AmeriKKKa". It's not about who's right or wrong, whatever your take- that's YOUR opinion but don't "opress" my right to disagree. I'm sure Obama thanks ALL (wink-wink) of you Anons for your vote (aka your lone contribution to Civil & Human Rights).

    I only addressed your remarks because my rule of thumb- online- is to ENGAGE anyone when they serve up undue insult. So, I used your own terms "fool/idiot" against you with no apology.

    Anyway, I wonder what conclusion "The Anon's" (with their multiple personalities) will draw from a recent NAACP report that finds TV networks lagging in diversity while warning of possible political action regarding such LACK OF DIVERSITY (in your "racism-free" 2008 AmeriKKKA, anon), now, according to the Anonymous logic displayed in this thread, is that a "psuedo oppressed fallacy" coming from the NAACP?

  28. your right jamal, soul is loco.

    america is the last place that lacks diversity. there's always some one feeling left out and some one fighting for them, it doesn't make it just. it just makes it.

  29. Seeking "Pseudo intellectual" help from an "anonymous" gang of red herrings? A Tag-team debate by "linking" buddies?
    That's a first. Thanks for the compliment.

    "There's always some one left" exhibiting hypersensitive defense mechanisms towards opposing views.

    I guess now the desperate strategy is: Let's hope Majority wins? Popularity amidst associates wins? argumentum ad numerum?


    Yet nothing of substance addressing the NAACP's "fallacy"?

  30. all of you, especially 'soul fubu' are obsessed. get a life, this has become pathetic yet here you are desperately trying to feel right about it all.. unbelievable

    this fallout of a comment section is anything but meaningful, maybe in your know it all world it's different. but here in reality, you fail.

  31. Then, anonymous, why do YOU keep posting? You're guilty of your own accusations. Which is typical.

    Talk about "obsessive compulsive"! Take your own "quasi clinical" advice, first, then show some restraint!


  32. megan your such a liar!!!! and for the record i only posted once, now you don't only fail at being a know it all but you fail at being a detective.

    yay for you!

  33. WTF!?!?!? Where did all these anons come from!?!?!?!?


  34. HA. no body is "oppressing" your right to disagree you dumbshit@mold doo-doo......

  35. Ivan, I agree, I must've descended upon the headquarters of the "Megan Meier Anonymous Teenaged Mutant Mean Girls" gang? They're turning your shop into Perez Hilton.com

    "dumbshit@mold doo-doo"??? Who talks like this on the regular?

    The mind that produces such comments is obviously still grappling with puberty.

    LOL, I guess this is what happens when little white kids like "suzy", "tigger" & "megan" try become Hip Hop!

    Yet I still suspect this "Anonymous" poster is actually one insanely paranoid person.

  36. your such a racially driven piece of shit it's sad, none of us are white, we all play college basket ball. we're as Hispanic and black as it gets NIGGA, isn't irony wonderful sometimes, it really deciphers the losers from everyone else. it's funny because we actually talked about this at practice the other day, soul, you reminded us how not to act and react in life and on the court. clearly being a baboon doesn't really translate on to the court but that's neither there but here.

    what you reminded us is without logic and being practical you fail at your task. hopefully for your sake and those that cross your path you can step back and learn from being such an arrogant nigga about such trite things as opinion, something your ancestors fought so hard to have, you being an asshole about it is not kemp.

    -could be your girl friend if you weren't such an asshole nigga

  37. any one that comes back here and posts to this loser, soul, has to do laps for a week while at practice! so don't do it bitches!


    you know who

  38. "none of us are white, we all play college basket ball. we're as Hispanic and black as it gets NIGGA"

    Stereotyping yourself is BAAAAAD

    I guess y'all got "nappy heads (like the Fugees)", too?
    (insert class drum-kick & cymbal ride here)
    Thank Mr. Imus for that one-liner


    as for me, I do Graphic Design work & telecommute often, so it's nothing for me to check back to HHIR online every 4 to 5 hours...

    here's a sample/shameless plug:

    Plus, I'd LOVE to run laps with nappy-heads who cannot dunk

  39. I wasn't really feeling this idea, either.

  40. Now we know why they call jocks dumb.

    If those are really female basketball players, they just set us student athletes "back hundreds of years".

    Hope your moms are proud of your silly behavior. oops, that's probably why they hid their identity.