This has been quite the semester and moreover year here at The University of Virginia and within the nation and world at large. From “Bring Back Our Girls” to #BlackLivesMatter to #NotJustUVA we have been constantly reminded of the anti-blackness that permeates all aspects of life. However, I have witnessed beautiful things develop through these tragedies, the most significant of which being community. Facilitated through common struggle, empathy, and communication this burgeoning populace has been able to find solace and solidarity with another while also being able impart their messages and anecdotes to the realm of general discourse. A major – scratch that – the most prolific medium where I see this occurring is through social media.
Twitter is the new grapevine, the information hotspot, and is in fact where most people, and even “reputable institutions of news reporting” primarily hear of these breaking stories and gather information regarding these cases. Of course with this comes issues of misinformation and bias, ( as every individual’s personal experiences influences the ways in which they relate to and process information ), but I largely believe that Twitter is becoming entirely more reliable than most News Outlets when dealing with stories and issues pertinent to marginalized groups.
I mean, would we have known about Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice Eric Garner, Aiyana Stanley Jones, and now most recently Freddie Gray had it not been for social media?
Would people have known – wait let me rephrase this – would people have believed (even though this statement is still largely debatable) that police brutality and the militarization of police in the United States is a serious issues that threatens and undermines all of our civil liberties?
The idea that I’m pushing relates to the philosophical question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I am dealing with matters of perceived reality and the “unobserved world.” Basically, I am trying to say that visibility is crucial in addressing issues that are not of the dominant groups or classes. There needs to be tangible representation of such subjects coupled with theoretical explanation for them to be able to begin to comprehend the issues that others may face, because such information attacks the systems that have allowed their privileged complacency in the first place. But even with all of this knowledge, we know that people will still be in denial of the blatant racial stratification that exists within United States culture.
Nevertheless, I am not saying that it is the responsibility of the oppressed to educate the oppressors of their oppression. The very idea seems nonsensical does it not? But it often seems like that is what is needed, if you are trying to effect change in the “lawful” and “right” way.
Then again the systematic persecution and genocide of black bodies isn’t really right or lawful…..Oh Okay.
I personally think that while education is useful in eliminating ignorance in regards racism and the multifaceted ways in which black people are discriminated against I don’t think we will ever get to the point that we want (you know equality, the whole being recognized as human being and being afforded the same resources and access to resources as promised under the constitution etc. etc. ) through this method.
Anti-blackness is way too intertwined in the fibers of American society for “education” to be the only way in which we would choose to destroy it. We cannot be logical with an illogical system (shot out to Nilaja!). In my opinion, the “system”, as it currently stands is doing everything it supposed to do. So we need a new system and revolution is the only way (and is ironically the historical American way).
But how do we create a revolution that is effective, one that can get us somewhere, and achieve tangible change?
I feel like the first step would be convincing others that is necessary. But persuasion has never been my forte.
This is where something we learned about earlier in my African American studies class “Drinking Gourd to Black Twitter” comes in handy.
Meet Walter Fisher’s Narrative Paradigm….
Walter Fisher’s Narrative Paradigm at its core relates the idea that all forms of communication is a readapted means of storytelling; this theory relies upon the relatability, credibility, transmission, and interpretation of the story.
History, is a clear illustration of such a concept. Who is telling the story will greatly affect how it is framed and consequently how it is remembered.
See: Representations of African and black history within the United States educational system…
But back to solving the issue of creating effectual revolution…
Walter Fisher’s Narrative Paradigm is useful because it details the aspects of communication that influences one’s reception of information.
And is additionally helpful because it is signaling to me that my story-telling skills are probably a little off.
Which brings me back to the social media point, the new grapevine, the information hotspot.
Social media would probably be my best friend in this regard. But I just can’t seem to shake my anti- social media feeling (I am regularly against social media because I find it to be pervasive, as it in my opinion promotes invasion of privacy and kind of encourages superficiality). Social media is not the perfect platform, but it is the most profound platform that exists in this day and age. It reaches the widest scope of people and allows for continuous discourse.
So I think I may need to step my social media game up…maybe.
Ah, the final blog post. It has been fun and challenging experience at times, but I appreciate having been given the opportunity to be able portray my true voice about a number of issues that I hold dear to my heart. Thank you professor Teresa Dowell-Vest for the opportunity. I have never really thought about blogging as a thing that I would ,do or would even be good at, but look at me now. *Flips hair*