These past two weeks we have been viewing and discussing various public service announcements (PSAs). The common theme in all of these PSAs is a call to action. These call to actions are meant to inspire their audience to get up and do something about an issues. This can range from stopping littering or something pertaining to social justice. My group #blacklivesmatter relates to the latter. They have many call to actions on social media on a consistent basis. One such example was SocialJusticeAmerica’s tweet that said we must end white supremacy and white privilege. Their tweet came in response to a video of the same cop who shot an unarmed teenager, tazing a cooperative suspect. Both of these incidents involved a POC and the same cop. Although SocialJusticeAmerica’s PSA may not come in the form of a video, they still have a call to action with the hopes that change can be made. This post gave the audience another reason to continue pressing the #blacklivesmatter agenda. Another perfect example of a PSA on social media is Jenny Lundt’s Facebook post. This post featured a picture of her proudly wielding a sword. She then told a personal anecdote of how not one person questioned her when she had the sword in public. In contrast, her entire campus was shut down because people thought a black was carrying a gun when it was actually a glue gun. Her call to action is for white Colgate students, or white students in general, to do better in terms of their perspectives on African-Americans. This post went viral and has hopefully inspired white students in America to think about their perspectives on African-Americans differently. These two previous PSA were simple yet effective. They had a call to action and allowed the audience to understand their perspective with the hopes that progress will be made.
This week we began our video project. The purpose of this project is to make a public service announcement (PSA) that gives our audience a call of action for some specific event. Since the repeal of Obamacare many people have made their own calls to action via twitter for people to take action against the political machine. One such call to action was to vote all of the politicians out of office who voted to repeal Obamacare. This call to action relates to what we have been learning because a picture of all of the representatives who voted to repeal Obamacare was tweeted, so people could know who to vote against next election. This PSAs of sorts give people a simple mission to right what has been done wrong by these lawmakers. Considering my group is #blacklivesmatter, the recent appeal of Obamacare affects African-Americans more than other groups because they have depended on Obamacare these past couple of years since the law was passed. Another call to action was made by Shaun King. King delivered a very simple tweet: he asked everyone to know the name Jordan Edwards. Edwards is the youngest kid this year to be killed by police this year at age 15. He was killed while driving away from a police officer after leaving a party. With this PSA, King wants people to know that police are still gunning down African-American youth. This is important because #blacklivesmatter essentially began after the police shootings of several unarmed black men. King’s calls to action is for his supporters to bring attention to this murder. These PSA may not come in the same format as the smokey the bear campaigns but they still have the same premise. They want people, specifically #blacklivesmatter supporters, to respond to their call of action with the hopes that change is made soon.
From the past two weeks we have listened to a lot of podcast. The one that stuck out to me was the “Out on the Wire” Bare Bones episode. One important point they make was to have a purpose when telling your story on your podcast. Throughout my time on social media following #blacklivesmatter activist such as Shaun King and others I have seen many disturbing things as an African-American man in America. One disturbing tweet I saw was the fact that multiple white supremacist have been killing African-Americans in broad daylight. The phenomenon is fairly new and is disturbing for someone who could possibly be a victim of these crimes. Another disturbing tweet was a video of a cop tazing an cooperating person of color. This video was disturbing because it was the same officer that shot an innocent 15 year old kid in the head while he was driving away from the officer. Events such as these make me question whether police forces across the nation are working against people of color. Every time I go on social media there seems to be another instance of blatant bigotry against people of color while a white man isn’t going to jail for raping a woman because it could possibly hurt his future. These post have inspired my purpose for my podcast. I do not want to educate my audience about Joey Bada$$’s album, I want to use his album to educate people on the oppression of African-Americans in America. I truly believe this album has the ability to inspire people. It covers everything from mass incarceration to policing in America. Another important point I learned came from Habermas’s “Introduction from The Structural transformation of the Public Sphere.” It was the fact that mass media is cheap and powerful. We can see these nearly everyday on social media from the United airlines incident or the infamous Pepsi commercial. Twitter and other social media outlets have been turned into the front line for many different forms of activism especially white the #blacklivesmatter movement. Companies now respond to these form of activism. United airlines market share dropped significantly after the incident and Pepsi released an apology via twitter. They also took down the video because of the uproar on social media against the video.
The past couple weeks in twitter history has demonstrated the argument presented in Gladwell’s “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not be tweeted,” and Mirani’s “Sorry, Malcolm Gladwell, the revolution may well be tweeted. Gladwell claims the weak-ties twitter creates are not sufficient enough to facilitate a revolution. Mirani counteracts by claiming the activism that occurs on twitter is simply a redefinition of what activism can be. We saw twitter users making real change after Pepsi released an ad displaying Kendall Jenner giving a cop a can of Pepsi and everyone magically stopped protesting and started partying. Twitter collectively responded with outrage, satire, and general embarrassment that this ad would ever be released. It took less than a day for Pepsi to take down the ad and issue a formal apology. Twitter enacted real change and brought a billion dollar company to its knees. Another important note in twitter activism was brought up in Doctorow’s “We need a serious critique of net activism.” Critics of net activism claim that groups lack direction with many centripetal forces pulling activism efforts in many directions. Doctorow, however, says even in a normal revolution of sorts everyone will not be in concord about the direction of the group as a whole. This can be seen from the Anonymous group or the Nation of Islam during Malcolm X’s life. Both groups were divided but one was part of regular activism and the other was involved with normal activism. Both of these arguments revolving around net activism demonstrate how we must redefine our definition of activism to include this new powerful means of activism.