Social Media and Racial Controversies
By Zuri Bradley
On August 9, 2014 Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson,Missouri by officer Darren Brown, shortly after protest erupted around the country united by hashtags such as “#ferguson”, “#handsupdontshoot”, and of course “#blacklivesmatter”. These hashtags were born from different social media websites such as Twitter. In the last couple of years social media has been a tool for people to discuss issues about racial injustices in our country, unite and rally against these injustices, as well as educate other people.
I personally follow a lot of activists and protesters in the black twitter community such as Deray Mckesson and Johnetta Elzie and honestly whenever something racially controversial happens I learn from them. I think that conversations about racial injustices these days and how much it is talked about is because of social media. Before social media was so prevalent injustices were happening but there wasn’t a way for people all over the country to know and then talk about it, “social media is a great way to amplify voices that would not otherwise be amplified.” says Stacia Brown, I definitely feel more empowered to talk about social issues by social media. Earlier this year when the tragic shooting of Alton Sterling happened I saw people tweeting all over the country coming together and planning protest all through twitter.
A problem I find with people talking about racial issues on social media is that “active discussion of race on Twitter tends to follow large news events”, as shown in the graph below, instead of having constant conversation about these problems, people tend to have a short attention span when it comes to social media and as soon as something else big happens the conversation can be forgotten.
Social media has become a tool for people to voice their opinions freely and engage in conversations about race that otherwise may not happen, my hope is that people will continue to use social media to continue talking about racial issues in our country and how to fix them.
Daly, Nora. “How Has Social Media Changed the Way We Talk about Race and Justice?” PBS. PBS, 15 Aug. 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.
Anderson, Monica, and Paul Hitlin. “2. Twitter Conversations about Race.” Pew Research Center Internet Science Tech RSS. N.p., 15 Aug. 2016. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.