paint it black

Why your friends are posting black squares on Instagram

AP

Early on election day, Instagram was flooded with happy “I voted” selfies and messages of hope. But in the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s stunning election as the 45th president of the United States, the tone on the social networked changed. Many users posted black photos, most without captions, seemingly at a loss for words:

A photo posted by Mandy Moore (@mandymooremm) on

I can't right now.

A photo posted by Ryan Boswell (@ryanboswell) on

A photo posted by Carla Gannis (@carlagannis) on

A photo posted by Debi Mazar (@debimazar) on

This election has been full of memes, but this is the first one of the President-elect Trump era. In the aftermath of Trump’s election, many are forecasting dark times ahead as his presidency casts a shadow over dozens of services crucial to people of color. Trump has taken aim at sanctuary cities for immigrants, supported the re-emergence of ‘stop and frisk’ policies, and doubled down on even more state-supported Islamophobia in the form of a Muslim “ban.”

The political feasibility of these policies is uncertain, but that’s what’s at the core of this meme: uncertainty. As it remains unclear how our country will change over the course of the next four years, seeing the jet black images replace the usual pleasurable aesthetics of Instagram sends the message that it’s time to pause and reflect.