Liberal writer Morgan Jenkins, who has found racism in Hollywood, publishing, Starbucks, the news, and even films that feature light-skinned black actors, now informs us that there is a quiet racism in Instagram.
Jenkins believes that some of Instagram's filters alter women of color's appearance beyond recognition, continuing what she perceives as photography's long racist tradition.
"In other words, what you see in a photo is never pure reality—it's the world as someone has chosen to depict it. And for the first hundred or so years of filmmaking, camera technology chose to ignore people of color entirely, leaving photographers' tools with built-in biases," Jenkins wrote in Rack on Tuesday.
She explained that dark skin absorbs more light than white skin, creating the need for different filters based on the darkness of a subject's skin color, as is used in most photography now. In the 1950s, Kodak and many other film companies used the same filter regardless of race, causing the film to "neglect or, in extreme cases, erase whoever is not white."
Instagram still uses that Kodak filtering process that lightens or whitewashes people's skin color.
Testing several filters on women who come from different races and skin tones, Jenkins showed how several filters on Instagram can make blacks look lighter than they are in person.
Filters are optional, but according to Georgia Tech and Yahoo! Labs researchers, they make a picture more desirable to look at and make it more likely that someone will comment on them.
Jenkins gives too much credit to a racial narrative. There is no grand plot by the executives at Instagram to whitewash women of color from the internet. And in the free market that created Instagram, it's possible that a tech-savvy entrepreneur who created new filters that enable photos to better filter people of color could make a fortune.