The digital civil rights movement: A new method of black activism
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After leaders such as Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King Jr., the perils of segregation and political injustice towards African Americans seemed to be diminishing and replaced by hope within minority hearts. However, over 50 years after the march in Selma, black Americans continue to face the struggle of institutionalized and societal racism stemmed from the roots of the country’s discriminatory past. Despite this fact, there are still many people across America who believe this lack of fairness has been solved.
According to the NAACP, African Americans, although making up a small portion of the nation’s population, were incarcerated 5 times more often than whites. With this label as a criminal, the negative impact for African Americans to be called back for a job affected them twice as much as well. Not only are black people in America disadvantaged in the courts and workplace, but the unlawful shootings of black men have also been wrongfully committed. Men and children like Alton Sterling are being disadvantaged by society, which promotes the stereotype that black men are dangerous criminals.
With this wave of discrimination, the black community has persisted to live up to King’s dream using the new innovation of today; mass media. Black Lives Matter, an activist movement to fight police violence and racism against black individuals, gathers and protests not only on the streets, but also on social media websites. This movement, which gained steam on Twitter, caught the attention of many influential activists and political leaders, such as Hillary Clinton.
And not only is social media tackling the struggles of the black experience, but so is entertainment. Recently, the new Marvel movie Black Panther brought in over $1 billion worldwide. This film about the African superhero and fellow black warriors battled the negative stereotypes about black capabilities and displayed them as strong heroes for the younger generation to look up to. Jamie Broadnax, founder of Black Girl Nerds, further explained its importance, as the loved characters “are rulers of a kingdom, inventors and creators [...] We’re not dealing with black pain, black suffering, black poverty.” The wrongful stereotypes of the failure of the black community have been combated through media. However, there is still so much more to be done.
There are many other organizations that are forming to highlight black excellence. The activism of the civil rights movement went from signs and boycotts of city buses to hashtags and black superheroes with extraordinary powers. Although the fight is not over yet, methods of protest will evolve with the trends and inventions of future years.
Unlike what people argue, these movements are not to silence white speech or proclaim superiority; these digital movements are for equality. And with the nation’s issues with islamophobia and the horrendous acts of separating immigrant children from their parents, the internet is what the future needs to fight for justice across all races, religions, and backgrounds. With the connective power of technology, this is not just America’s fight, but also one for all the underprivileged people around the world.