by Sam Prince
The internet is a wide area network responsible for connecting people around the world. It is symbolic of democracy in a sense, opening the door for its users to communicate effortlessly, regardless of who they are. All internet accessibility requires is a device with wireless connectivity and a wireless signal.
Times have changed. For better or for worse, human connection is only a mouse click or thump press away. Social media allows us to develop, maintain, and manage relationships with everyone, from your next door neighbor to those on other continents. Don’t be surprised if one day social media is a medium through which we communicate beyond the horizon, and to the cosmos.
There’s something beautiful about being connected with one another, sharing the human experience. Through social media we experience the evolving maturation of human consciousness. Fleeting faith in humanity is restored through acts of kindness, infusing hope and instilling confidence in mankind’s morality. There is the funny, videos and articles that have you cracking up, obliques in pain from the spastic nature of uncontrollable laughter. Social awareness is at an all-time high. There are ice bucket challenges for ALS, documentaries about oppressive labor practices in India, and investigative journalist like Jeremy Scahill sharing the stories of those in war torn countries.
Then there is the not-so-beautiful. Places like the state of Missouri continue to experience racially charged tragedies, previously in Ferguson and Saint Louis, and most recently on the campus of the University of Missouri. The media outlets are like vultures over a carcass hoping to seize an opportunity to profit. Combing through news stories they force feed their viewers, taking them on an emotional rollercoaster. The skewed media coverage of racially charged tragedies is not solution oriented, as it boxes black society into a corner until they can only regurgitate anger. Rioting and Looting are an effect, a lashing out instigated by the media, caused by irritating unhealed wounds.
In the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s black people experienced racism in waves. It is true that there were large racially charged happenings, like the beating of Rodney King and the O.J. Simpson trial. These undoubtedly shook the foundation of America. Still, there was an escape. You could turn the television off.
With the advent of the smartphone and the increasing popularity of the internet, escaping is not easily done. News and social media follow you into your home, they go with you in your pocket, upstairs to your room, on the job, at dinner with friends, and while working out and during other recreational activities.
Vibrate. Vibrate. Notification.
Racism’s effect is felt through social media, and oppressive race related news. Its ghastly shadow has become unavoidable, seemingly insurmountable, and suffocating.
Now more than ever, conversations revolving around emotional intelligence and coping strategies must be had. In a sense I am happy that we have to discuss the racist undertones that have plagued this country since its inception. It is long past due. Practical solutions can only be sought out in a sound state of mind, which is why developing emotional intelligence is important within black communities.
Together we can come up with a step by step plan to peacefully handle racism in this country. Truthfully, racism probably won’t ever be nonexistent. Unfortunately some people would rather hold onto hate than embrace their brother. Still, there is hope. As a country we must address the outcry many consider bombastic in nature, and a playing of the “race card”. It is unacceptable and shortsighted for non-blacks to downplay and disregard these feelings. Shunning confirms black skepticism, increases the divide, and hinders true progress. It’s time to show empathy to one another, blacks and whites alike. Let’s live up to the nickname “The Melting Pot.”