Saturday, July 16, 2016

Are Black People Using Our Social Media Platforms to Our Advantage?

Social media can be a useful tool in communicating and exchanging ideas. It can also be the source of sensory overload during times when crisis is opened up and our feelings are running high about some form of injustice.

I realized yesterday that there were a lot of informational shares about racist incidents that recently occurred and also a lot of previous incidents that were circulating as if they were a part of present reality. There is a span of three to four years or even longer when those moments were the headlines and not all of those moments were national news events. Some of the stories are now at least a decade old. My newsfeed was filled with this type of informational sharing and it was from different people that I am connected to. I found myself intentionally scrolling past them because #ENOUGH! is where I am mentally and spiritually. I found myself feeling agitated and also overwhelmed. This is not the mindset of a person who believes that we have to exercise an entirely different set of options to disrupt the problem and the system that supports its existence. 

Why, is it necessary to pull up every shred of evidence that racism exists within the American experience every time something happens?

I don’t understand what the purpose this practice is supposed to achieve, is it a reminder that what is occurring is not a new or unusual situation? I  believe that there is a high awareness of what has happened and why it continues to occur among Black people. 

Is sharing every shred of evidence supposed to help educate someone who has yet to grasp the concept that extrajudicial dealings with the police in certain instances will result in an instant death sentence? How about this idea that they know and they approve or just do not give a damn that it is happening? What impact does this have on that perspective? 

What is the problem with accepting this as a reality and then keep it moving in the direction that we need to go. 

I’m not too willing to hold a lot of credence in the idea that white Americans does not know that Black people and other POCs are the focus of racist practices. They may want to act as if they are detached from this reality, but to claim continually that they are unaware is questionable, especially if that individual keeps up with current news stories. This is a good way to provide an excuse for not responding properly to the truth. Remaining silent is also a form of co-signing what is occurring. 

At what point are we going to embrace the idea that white people need to do the work required of them in this area of America’s social constructs?  We started out in the leadership role regarding this issue but isn't it time for us to move on to the next level where our concerns and needs are actually the focus of the point?

Are we really in a position to continue to try to educate and persuade someone that our reality is steeped deep in the traditions of racism? I do not see the point in trying to win over a segment of the population that is not willing to use any other perspective on this subject.
One of the other trends that has really been working my last nerve are the narratives involving Black people who have positive interactions with the police.
I don’t deny that they occur. I have had interactions that were appropriate with law enforcement officers. However this campaign includes a lot of narratives featuring Black women and children with officers. I find this trend to be unsettling because we know that there are Black women and children who have been murdered by the police with no repercussions for their deaths.We have to be honest about this narrative for ourselves as well as our children. Seeing a white male officer having positive interactions with Black women and children is an expectation that we should have as human beings. Seeing these images does not translate out into an override of the police involved shootings of unarmed Black people.

Acting appropriately with members of any community is supposed to be the core principle of law enforcement. To Serve and Protect is the motto that is used to define their jobs. This idea that we should be okay with seeing officers doing their job as a way to tamp down the outrage over those officers who are not performing to this standard makes no sense. 

How are we using our platforms to advocate for our needs?

It would be nice to see a collective effort to use our social media platforms to work on our behalf. Instead of constantly pointing out every injustice that has occurred, why we are not offering solutions to many of our numerous problems or sharing resource information that can be useful to help us navigate through this situation as well as others that affect our lives.

This goes beyond #StayWoke and #WakeUp hash tags. We have the opportunity to use our social media real estate to share ideas on economic development and working on alternative solutions that do not always require the Government as the primary economic force.
I no longer will accept the idea that we cannot do this because_____________. We have the talent and the collective mental power to develop and implement solutions. We have to be the architects of our own well-being because it is obvious that if we do not take on this responsibility as we actually need to the cycle will continue to evolve in our lives.

Social media provides the opportunity for us to amplify our voices in the conversation on what to do about a situation or a problem if we decide to share content that is more call to action and solution driven.

Are we thinking about the impact our shares create for us? 
I cannot tolerate watching anymore videos of Black people being brutalized period. No matter who the offender is because a whole lot of media exists on intraracial violence that gets shared daily.

I have forced myself not to click onto stories or videos that depict the act happening. It is a reality that I can accept without actually witnessing it happens on video.Quite frankly, I have seen enough Black people being brutalized during the course of my life to not want to continue to watch it happening. A constant exposure to this type of violence eventually weighs heavy on the mind and our spirits, our health is also impacted by too much negativity. We have to consider that in order to engage in dismantling the system of suppression we have to be mentally well and rested enough to do the job.

I am not implying that the information not be shared but when it is a share on every other post, it might be time to consider what direction we should take after the initial news is shared.

Are we really utilizing the tools available to send out messages of support and calls to action?
Please don't get this statement twisted up in the idea that this is a cover for retaliation. It's not. I have a long time investment in activism and I believe that in order to disrupt the system we must be organized well enough to put it on the defensive. The content that we share should reflect the idea that we are not just going to be outraged but that we are also  intent on doing what is necessary to handle our business.

We should also be prepared with messages that present facts and counter the intentions of other Black people who are on the opposite side of a mass popular ideas and needs. I don't do the coon, Uncle Tom, house negro thing because I fail to see what  purpose it serves in refuting the opposing opinions. It would be far more effective to shut them down with responses that deal directly with their opinions than to resort to name calling. Let's keep it real, we are not a monolithic people and there has always been someone who has a different opinion that the one we support.  

All struggles have utilized rhetoric and cultural outlets as support systems in the effort to create change. Our use of social media should be included in that list of options.

 I want to see people who have Black audiences use their platforms to generate conversations on what we can or should do about any situation that has an adverse or positive affect on our lives. 

I also want to see our allies use their platforms to support our efforts and to educate, inform and engage people in meaningful actions that will help to turn this situation around. 

If you have any ideas on how we can use social media more effectively or comments that you want to share please do so.

#ENOUGH! #SocialMedia #UsingOurTools 

***Disclosure Notice****
I do curation on the topics of Post Racial America and Racism on Scoop It! I needed a way to reference this type of material in the event that I needed to do research, check for name accuracy, or to share information if requested during social justice meetings.

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