#BlackLivesMatter The Silent Voice of The UnheardApril 10, 2019
Racial Equality, to say the least, has been the saddest epitome of our current modern society. What causes the actual problem is how we act upon it, ignoring the importance of how it can shape a human being a better species, full of understanding and acceptance. People’s value and worth are now considered on the basis of their racial and sexual backgrounds — the inferior ones are ignored and violently mistreated or, in some case, demised.
Before the internet, we had social activism, where people gathered in an organization, establishing themselves as the people of mutual ideological goals, and contributed to them by protesting against whomever responsible for their misery or being mistreated. Nowadays, however, after the invention of WiFi which makes social network become accessible, people are more easily connected and the awareness spread even more instant than just a blink. Just like posters but better, social media calls the attention from around the world the ongoing issues, like the homosexuals are being physically abused for their being homosexual, or black people are affronted for their being black, which are currently happening at some place, some of which requires those who have the authority to solve the problems, pressurizing the victims to be brought to justice.
#BlackLivesMatter is certainly the one to watch. Its significance is probably the most memorable — if not ignorant — among the daily popular/trending hashtags on Twitter. It showcases not only the voice of the African-American people but also those who are racially oppressed but rather unable to articulate their pain. It is not an organization, but rather a movement that tests whether networked movements, reinforced by social media, will be more effective than the disciplined social movement organization in the past.
Following the murders of Michael Brown, John Crawford III, and Eric Garner, the African-American community was outraged and sought for a tool that could justify this situation that somehow, instead, favored the white community. Led by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, three black women friends in California, Black Lives Matter was initiated with an intention to articulate the voice of the underprivileged people of color in the US.
In her famous book When They Call You A Terrorist, Cullors wrote an anecdotal life account about her childhood in which her mother struggled in multiple jobs to raise her four children towards survival, about her mission as an activist and a performance artist, and about searching for love as a queer individual who didn’t realize her gender boundaries. When she was nine, she encountered her older brother, Paul, 13 and Monte, 11, humiliated by the police for no reason. There was no specific reason for the pressing of charge as they were just hanging out at the playground or vacant because they had no other place to be. The police loudly screamed at them and forced them against the wall, just for being black boys doing nothing.
Later on, when she was 12 years old, police entered her classroom, handcuffed her and had her searched because somebody had filed a report that she allegedly smoked marijuana. However, after she recognized that her rich white friend, whose brother was a drug dealer, kept marijuana in his bags, she realized that he had never been searched by the police, nor feared them.
In brief, this book, which consequently urged her to be rival against the cruel society, is an eloquent and outcry against injustice. It conveys the other way of saying I’m not okay with this, and this needs to be changed, not to benefit only me but the society as a whole.
After learning her struggling life account, it makes me nauseous to my cellular level of how the world loses the balance not only of the morality, but also the human being ourselves. If someone, if not everyone, isn’t able to articulate their unheard voice, then I can’t imagine how can I even continue to live in this disgusting society.
However, having gone through all the imbalanced social structure, I learned a new phrase, “liquid modernity”. What this phrase tries to convey is that we no longer live in a fixed societal structure — social, political, economic, and moral. Everyone has a chance to reinvent themselves as well as the society, to fight against their being unjustified, and to start something new. That is the purpose of #BlackLivesMatter — to show the world how we can be a better human being and to reconsider ourselves of who we are, as a community of mutual genes.
In its initial stages, #BlackLivesMatter was a loose organization, attracting only the people who followed memes on Facebook or Twitter. The main problem was the question of who had the right to speak for their problems and who didn’t. Although nowadays, the organization has become more formal, it is still highly decentralized, as the authorities do not directly interact with the ongoing problems, but rather, it is the social media that recognizes the problems and respond to them with comments and retweets, hoping that the concerned actual organization realizes the ongoing unjust situations. The advantages, however, are that the local chapters are able to initiate the social media protests on their own without being permitted by the central governing body. To put it bluntly, Black Lives Matter doesn’t depend on the press to get the word out. Rather, its communication is carried out by the Twitterverse who follow its account and hashtags which is even more instant. In doing so, the initiators of the movement widen their target audience to be the global community of the people of color, instead of limiting their scope to be only in the USA. The question here, nevertheless, is to what extent the black community regard their identity as a personal way of interpreting the world that identifies them.
Almost everyone is identified with something larger than themselves, but still smaller than the human community as a whole. For instance, a person is primarily identified as an American. Although, he is a universalist, firmly believing that every human being should be considered regardless of their race, gender or nationality and that everyone embraces some sort of dignity and worth. However, he would find it extremely difficult to be in the position of someone else whose nationality doesn’t seem to matter to them. Therefore, the communication would only result in the form of comments and retweets, rather than reporting to the concerned organization.
The other problem has arisen, as a result, here is that people start to post hate comment towards the white people, saying they are disgusted by the white supremacy, or even worse, “white should die”. If racial equality was to be promoted to make the world a free community, what is the point of discriminating against each other? White people should also be able to voice themselves as well as the black and the social hierarchy should be completely eliminated.
What need to be condemned are those who commit racial discrimination. Some black people even discriminate against the Asian and start to call them by the stereotypical nickname like chinks. If their voices were to be heard, the social media firstly need to reconsider their hate comments if they are relevant to the ongoing situation. If the black is murdered because of their unjust action, then they need to accept the consequence regardless of the difference in their racial identity. If, however, they are explicitly mistreated on the basis of their identity, then this needs to be brought up to the table.
I certainly can’t say for the fate of #BlackLivesMatter, of how the future may hold for its evolvement, of how effective it can be to change the people’s stereotypical mindset, or of how the model of social revolution will be. To put it bluntly, this movement is highly decentralized and perhaps ineffective as it may seem. Nothing has changed tremendously since its establishment, as the world is still a disgusting place for the people of differences to live. Personally, in order for society to recognize the needs for a change, it requires two main principles. One is a mass of people protesting in the streets, demanding that a change is necessary, so that nation, as well as the world, recognize how serious the situation is. The other is a great negotiator who can be in a position to draft legislative proposals, performs a political rivalry and eventually promises to make the change concrete.
To put it in other words, social media is barely a catalyst for a necessary social revolution. All it does is put the hashtags on trending whenever something bad happens and needs the whole world to condemn. What it should otherwise be is that you need both a Martin Luther King Jr. and a Lyndon Johnson to represent the community and to make a real concrete change. The greatest challenge in demanding for the social changes here is that the White House is not occupied by Johnson, but by Donald Trump.