Our ability and privilege to access information more much easier than previous generations have helped in exposing the unfairness in our world today
Across all timelines, major social media platforms were congested with the growing riots in America. People were seeing first-hand the extent of violence perpetuated against people of colour. Within a few days, social media was able to drive solidarity for the BLM movement – we saw citizens in other countries flocking out in droves to lend their voices to the cause.
Rioting, peaceful or otherwise, is not new to our history on this earth. As Martin Luther King once put it, riots are the languages of the unheard.
For time, the marginalised and oppressed have turned to rioting in an attempt to have their voices be heard and change implemented. Nations have been reformed thanks to people marching out onto the streets to use their voices. One such nation is the United States of America.
Many were shocked at America’s blatant disregard for human rights and the lack of respect for human lives being displayed in the 21st century. For some, this shock was a long time coming as the injustices of our world have clearly existed for time. Wherever you stand, it can be agreed by all that social media has played an important role in bridging the gap between reality and the people of the world. But with all the access it has given us, has it made us any more effective in the fight against oppression and injustice?
The sensationalism lasted for days, weeks, months and then, suddenly, it seems the world went back to normal.
On one hand, social media is a great tool for pushing social awareness. On the other, it is also a great distraction. As a platform that creates so much content, people often get distracted from weightier matters.
At a time when the voiceless have nothing to bank on but their marching and the support of the world, it seems selfish for us to be going on Twitter as usual commenting on one post or another, or arguing with the next stranger about the right grammatical structure.
Too quickly we forget about the problems of the world or rather, too quickly we show that we don’t care THAT much. Step away from the comments underneath a funny video or post and think to yourself, what have you done to support the fight against oppression today?
The truth is, rioting has shown us that our voices work – the louder we are the more attention we draw and the possibility of change being implemented goes higher.
In these times where the idea of grouping with several strangers may seem frightening to some, we must not forget the power of social media. Even though virtual, social media platforms represent the streets and, on these streets, we must march and advocate for the change we believe we want to see.