Monday
Jun152015

Things We Could Have Focussed on Instead of Rachel Dolezal: Twitter Power?

Twitter giveth and Twitter taketh away. Just last week, the power of social media was on display as Twitter was used to highlight the plight of a group of Black children were rough-housed by an out-of-control police officer in McKinney. Less than a week later, the Black children of Mckinney,TX dropped off radar screen and officer Eric Casebolt is preparing to send a fruit basket to Rachel Dolezal, the President of the NAACP branch in Spokane Washington.

What's so extraordinary and important about the president of an NAACP chapter in a town many of us could not find on a map if our lives depended on it? Nothing. Other than Miss Dolezal has been telling people she is Black, when it appears she is not. Her mother came out and said that she's been masquerading as a Black woman. She appears to have altered her appearance over time to "deepen" the tone of her skin and has taken to wearing curly hair extensions and braids.

It is a bonus to the internet that she had an active social media life and posted numerous selfies. She managed to trend for at least three days on Twitter and launched spin off hashtags such as #AskRachel.

The think pieces have already started rolling in. The list of grievances is growing. It appears she may have fabricated hate crime allegations ( however, if racists did indeed believe she was Black- as head of an NAACP chapter in the middle of nowhere, it is still possible that her life was threatened) - time will tell.

Last week I spoke about a lack of mental toughness displayed on Twitter. Grown Black people who claim to be emotionally distraught to debilitating levels because of something they saw on social media.

In several of my live presentations about the power of social media, I have quipped that Twitter is the Candy Crush Saga of Social Justice.  For many it isn't a tool, but entertainment. Something to make people feel as if they are doing something- when they really aren't.

That's dangerous. It takes a certain level of frustration and rage to move people to the point that they are willing to risk their lives to change the status quo. Kind of like a pressure cooker. Every time one of these "emotionally distraught" Black adults tweets, it's like opening the vents on a pressure cooker.

Some would say that Twitter is real and it's this powerful movement making machine. I would say any movement built on the whims of the tweeting public is build on sands that will quickly shift as soon as a new cat video appears or Beyonce drops and album.

#RachelDolezal proves this.Luckily for McKinney, it appears that the local faith-based community (you know, the grass roots activists with boots on the ground) have taken the lead.

In other words, Twitter is an anesthetic. It puts people to sleep. It's bread and circuses. It's virtual reality. Can Twitter be a powerful tool? Of Course! But like anaesthesia, if it isn't deployed properly, it can kill you-- or worse - it can rob you of your voice so you can't speak out or move. 

Miss Dolezal is going to richly rewarded for her internet fame. She's going to get speaking gigs, a reality show, she's going to be invited to appear as a guest on cable news, she'll get a book deal and more --- assuming she isn't carted off to jail for filing false police reports - but then again, that  would make a more dramatic screenplay.

 

 

 

Monday
Jun082015

Grown Folks Guide to Dealing With McKinney Pool Party Video. 

I continue to be amazed by the level of learned helplessness demonstrated by fully grown Black people in the face of circumstances that require us to be..... Adults. One of those circumstances is when our children are placed in danger of serious bodily harm or death. So why are fully grown Black people catching the vaoprs over video of an out-of-control, unprofessional, and incredible foolish law enforcement officer bringing deadly force to a pool party.

Central to this disproportionate use of force and unnecessary escalation of what at worst is being called a fist fight and a rowdy party, is the officer's treatment of a bikini clad 14-year-old Black girl. She is clearly walking AWAY from him and he approaches her, manhandles her, at one point yanks her by her braids nearly plowing her head into a concrete sidewalk for no other reason than she is being "mouthy." Being mouthy is not a crime. And even if it were, being mouthy is not a crime punishable by a traumatic brain injury or death by asphyxiation.

Many people are going to try to drag you into arguments about whether or not this incident was or was not racism. Good luck with that! Let me know when racist hearts and minds are changed through internet arguments... I'll wait.

 There are only three questions that need to be asked about the McKinney pool party video:
1. Was anything the children did punishable by death by asphyxiation?
2. Was anything the children did punishable by death by bullet?
3. Was anything the children did punishable by a traumatic brain injury?


If the answer is NO, then the next question is, when will this officer lose his badge. If the answer is YES, walk away- the person you are speaking to is insane.

Stop arguing with racists about whether or not they are racist. Stop debating whether the girl in the video was being mouthy- it isn't a crime. Stop arguing about whether the children "belonged" - trespassing is not a capital offense.

 

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