America woke up Friday morning with the very real threat that the country was on the verge of plunging into World War III with Iran after the assassination of the Middle East country’s top military leader. President Donald Trump authorized the drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, prompting Iran to promise “revenge” in no uncertain terms.
Panic seemed to break out across social media Thursday night after the assassination was reported, with many fearing for the safety of America. But the reaction from a certain portion of social media users was decidedly different. Black Twitter wasn’t exactly downplaying the very real possibility of a new world war. But a growing number of tweets attributed to what writer Michael Arceneaux once called “essentially an extension of my black urban experience” showed that the social media collective of color was responding with choice gifs and memes to express apparent indifference to the threat of World War III.
Because of that, the term “Black Twitter” was a top trending topic on the social media app on Friday morning, garnering more than 676,000 tweets before 8 a.m. EDT. Some of the gifs — a brief animated image that replays over and over — and memes showed Black folks fleeing the U.S. to get away from the suspected imminent danger the country’s citizens face from Iran’s promised retaliation. Others pointed out that this war shouldn’t involve Black people since there are none who were calling the shots in the Pentagon or White House, which authorized the apparent act of war by the U.S. against Iran.
One tweet, in particular, even made a light-hearted but serious reference to Black folks being jailed for refusing to fight in the presumed upcoming war. That possibility was very realistic seeing as the future of the Selective Service System, which drafts American citizens to enlist in the armed forces, is uncertain.
Some tweets from Black Twitter in response to the assassination of a high-ranking Iranian official on Iraqi land also expressed concern that Black Twitter was making light of a situation that was sure to cost other lives, some of which will probably be innocent.
The Black Twitter tweets further confirmed that Black folks are far from a monolith, offering various social media responses even when united by the same cause, as was the case Friday morning in response to the assassination of Soleimani.
Amid all the geopolitical uncertainty, there was at least one guarantee: Black Twitter never loses. Scroll down to see some of the top tweets reacting to Trump pushing the U.S. closer to World War III.