I run a small group on WhatsApp called Youth Nation, It's a mixture of both African and Caribbean people. While they were sharing their stories, they told me how much social media impacts their lives, and it wasn't for the better.
I am concerned with what is happening within the black community, how can we be better to each other, especially in the world of social media.
Social media such as Tik Tok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook provides an alternative space for black people to share pictures, ideas and concerns from a black perspective about social inequalities, politics and social justice that were historically prohibited. I love the activism and solidarity that people demonstrate while on social media; however, the way we attack each other is disheartening.
Our community is hurting, and many of us are searching for ways to stand up for what we believe; is Social media problematic? I would say yes in some ways.
Let's start with Tik Tok; dark skin black girls are frequently attacked by other girls who digitally darken their skin colour and look sad - before revealing their natural, lighter skin tone at the end and smiling. There have been calls to remove specific videos from the platform, but not enough has been done. Imagine the impression this gives to darker skin people.
I reached out to Tik Tok recently because I was doing a webinar on colorism, and they responded by stating, ”the videos did not violate their guidelines.” I was curious to know what their policy is and how does shadeism videos align with their values, but I got no response.
Twitter, or should I say Black twitter, is driven by hashtags and certain Twitter users who are trendsetters. This decade wouldn’t be the same without Black Twitter.
I am not a fan of groupthink; I think it makes us lazy; being a Life Coach, my job is to encourage individuals to create their voice; however, I do see the power in Black Twitter. I’ve seen Black Twitter do some great things by using the power it possesses to move culture in a direction it wants.
Twitter should never replace research or logic, for that matter. We must see past the fake-professors and conduct our research to draw our conclusions. I find that shaming people on this platform has become more important than teaching. We encourage others to cancel other people, but yet we pretend we are an anti-bullying society.
While I am scrolling on Facebook, I see how black women attack other black women. They attack Oprah, Monique, Jada Pinkett, Candace Owens and each other. Now I am not saying I agree with any of these women, but my question is, why go at someone this hard? When we have so many other things to deal with in our communities.
Some people on social media have fragile egos and can't handle someone having a different opinion, and they become hostile and downright vicious.
Here are some ways to protect yourself while black on social media.
1. Recognize that people who look like you will attack you.
Don't assume that because someone looks like you they will share the same views as you. Be prepared for someone that will challenge your political views, opinions and critique your pictures
2. Not everyone who says their black is black.
There are some antagonizers out there that just want to push your buttons. Don't be tricked into a long painful dispute.
3. Pretend the person is standing right in front of you.
Sometimes it's easier to type things and send it out but if the person was standing in front of you. Would you still say it? Practice looking in the mirror and reading what you typed and ask yourself is it worth it? How will it add value to someone’s day? You don't want to regret sending out something that hurts someone.
See the value in yourself, and always offer the best even in the world of social media.
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