I spend hours yesterday trying to get my thoughts about #BlackOutTuesday across in a simple talking in the car video. There's so much to say. Every time I finished and rewatched there would be something else I wish I said. I couldn't get a clear take. I deleted a bunch of the shorter ones were I immediately made a mistake, but I legit spent three hours trying to get it right.
I went to go vote and just started recording my thoughts on this #BlackoutTuesday movement because I was worried people were doing it for the wrong reasons. Then I brought one of my friends to vote, we went for a walk and before you knew it; it was after 7 pm. I felt like my window to post had closed since it was already night time. Since it's the day after and the blackout is over, I think this is the perfect time to talk about the next move.
The social media news cycle is so quick that people forget about one thing and move to the next thing in the blink of an eye. Are we going to actually make changes or just post a pic and move on?
I think the blackout was a good idea at it's core, but the execution could've been better. Honestly, before last week I probably would've shit on people doing something like that (you'll see why I no longer agree soon). What percentage of people knew about it before they woke up on Tuesday? I didn't know about it until I went on twitter when I woke up and saw people talking about why you have to be careful with hashtags.
In a lot of ways, the gesture felt a little hollow. I know a lot of people feel helpless and that they can't make a change and this was an easy way to show you care. I just wanted to make sure people were doing this the right way and for the right reasons.
Like a lot of people, I posted a black square on my instagram to participate in #BlackoutTuesday because I agree with the message. It was a day on social media to focus on the real issues and promote black businesses....not to share bikini pics and memes.
Before I posted I had my reservations. I care about the movement. I want changes to be made. I'm glad this is all happening, we need a Revolution. I also know how social media works, how people think cynically and do things with ulterior motives.
My biggest concerns were the following:
1. Censoring Important Information
The whole reasons hashtags are a thing is to make it easier to find information. That's why I didn't hashtag HireDozo or BarstoolSports on here because it's not fucking about me. By posting a black square with hashtags like #BLM or #Blacklivesmatter you are flooding feeds where people are getting their news and information about protests and movements with a black box. This is why I captioned my post the way I did. Using those hashtags with that photo silences information that people desperately need. I didn't want to add to that problem. My conspiracy brain already thinks this could've been sabotage by people against the movement.
2. Appearing Disingenuous
I know how social media works. People fish for likes. That's why girls will post selfies with their tits popping out or ripped dudes will find any excuse to show swole they are. We've all done it before one way or another. In a more dangerous problem...People will say stuff they don't actually believe for a pat on the back from strangers or people they haven't seen in 12 years from high school. That is actually more harmful in the long run.
I didn't want to just jump on the bandwagon for the sake of jumping. I think it's important to understand what you're supporting. Why are we doing this blackout? How many people who did it could give a reason other than to show support? I'm talking specifics. Do you really get it? The whole idea is to censor yourself so the important information can be more easily accessed. That being said...I completely understand how some people at first may have just seen posting a picture as a hollow act; especially if it's all you do. How do you think it makes black people feel to see these posts with no direction action by the people posting?
You can say whatever you want about #BlackoutTuesday. As of 12:20 PM 6/3/20; we still have Freedom of Speech (although I'm sure an executive order could come at any point). I understand why people may think it's stupid or hollow. I personally do not think it is. We just have to be careful like I said about the proper hashtags.
For the most part my entire IG feed was black boxes. I actually got "to the end of IG" on my DOL IG since I follow under 100 accounts to keep that ratio in tact (I'm just being honest). There weren't a lot of thirst-traps, memes or sports highlights. It was people taking part in a protest showing solidarity with our African American brothers and sisters that we too care and want justice.
It's kind of ironic. One of the major reasons I started DOL was to bash "PC culture" and to a lesser extent Social Justice Warriors. While I still hate PC culture, in a way I'm becoming an SJW even though I'd never consider myself one. I want change. I know who I am and what I believe in. This isn't about left or right. It is simple right and wrong and what has been going on in our country is wrong. My future colleague, Brandon Walker put it perfectly on the Barstool Rundown yesterday.
That's pretty much exactly how I feel. I've mentioned racial issues in this country on DOL before; before the last month. I have talked about Remember the Titans being my favorite movie since 2000. But why did it take this video for a lot of us to realize there's a major problem? I cared, but clearly not enough. I didn't really see the problems. At least, not until I moved to Nashville in August of 2017.
From teaching in the inner city I have seen how the other half lives. And barely at that. I just glanced at the tip of the iceberg during my two months in the Music City. In Prxv it's even worse in a lot of ways. I was only in one school in Tennessee. I've worked in probably close to 10 different ones in the creative capital.
Systematic racism is something I didn't fully grasp until I started teaching. Like I referenced in a blog last week, I knew the major stuff. Being inside the belly of the beast has completely changed my perspectives. I've seen the inequality in the education minority and low income students get vs stereotypical affluent, mostly white towns get from property taxes. That alone is wrong. I'm not going to get into all of the ins and outs of taxes because I don't truly understand it, but basic decency makes me think there's got to be a more just way to fund education.
FROM THE JUMP these students are not given the same opportunities that me or my friends were given. They are in schools with unqualified teachers and sub-par materials. The discipline system is non-existent showing the lack of care for these students well-being.
I don't want to go down that rabbit hole, it's for another day. My point is like all things in life, its about your intentions. Did you put up #BlackoutTuesday then post about your dog three hours later? Have you signed a single petition? Or donated? Have you reached out to a black person? If you answer no to any of the last three, but yes to the first; you're part of the problem. It's okay. You can still do something.
Change isn't going to happen overnight. Despite all the racial injustice going on, we must remember we're in the middle of a Pandemic. I don't want to see more innocent people lose their lives during protests. Looting and destroying property only gives racists more ammunition. I know people are angry and it is not my place to tell them how to react, but being smart and calculated can go a long way. While I agree both are wrong, I'd argue murder is worse than arson. We need to have our priorities straight. I'm glad people were able to stop flooding social media with insignificant filler for a day, but we are going to need to do a lot more than that if we want real change in this supposedly great nation.