Is social media creating forces to end racism?

social.mediaOf course, such a question is a bit more hopeful than I usually am and is slightly dangerous per se. But is there something to it?

This week Sebastien De La Cruz has been a focus across the media, especially social media. He sang (and did a wonderful job!) the United States’s National Anthem this past Tuesday before game 3 of the NBA finals.   News reports have explained how there was an outpouring of anger and racist postings on Twitter, Facebook, and other places. Check out this link, this one, this one, and this one for coverage.

What many of these and similar articles do not touch on, however, is the very positive response that also occurred on social media sites. Check out the following twitter clippings, and this is only a very small selection.

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It is still at least somewhat problematic, of course, than some of the positive comments still refer to Sebastien as “boy.”

In another recent event, people had similar outpourings of hate, anger, and frustration when Cheerios released the following commercial featuring a “modern” diverse family.  People complained about it featuring a “biracial” family and a “biracial” child. (“Biracial” is in quotation marks because scientifically/biologically, everyone is biracial. Moreover, there is no such thing as “race.” If you have questions about this, please read the American Anthropological Association’s “Statement on Race.“)

This following video, which is hilarious, featuring not only a “biracial” but also LGBT family, was created in response, and it has been quickly circulating social media today. 

These are just two examples of many possibilities. Social media regularly provides many individuals with a powerful and loud voice. Social media, of course, has its share of haters as the saying goes. Sometimes we (especially mainstream media) focus too much of the individuals trying to hold society back, the ones with racist feelings, the ones who don’t recognize basic truths and realities. Sure it is important to know about them and to still work toward change. Social media gets it share (probably deserved in many cases) of criticism too because people tend to spend too much time on it (including me at times.)

But, also we need to remember the good out there. Social media makes it possible to hear more of the “good” voices – voices of progress and change. It makes the world a more open place. Racists thoughts and individuals can be and usually are quickly countered by voices of hope and equality.

So going back to the first question: Will social media–Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and all the comments left everywhere–force positive change to happen quicker than otherwise possible?

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