All Articles Tagged "social media"
As long as it took Leslie Jones to break into the mainstream consciousness, it’s sad that so much ugliness comes with it. First Leslie wrote about the fact that designers didn’t want to dress her. And now that Ghostbusters has been released into theaters, Twitter users have flooded her mentions with racist- fueled hate speech.
In an effort to expose these users and their hate speech, Leslie shared some of these tweets.
I just don’t understand pic.twitter.com/N9xWoXPttu
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 18, 2016
I’m exposing you suck mfs pic.twitter.com/WLzRzE92RV
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 18, 2016
Exposing I hope y’all go after them like they going after me pic.twitter.com/ojK5FdIA0H
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 18, 2016
Yep so sad these people have mothers and sisters and aunts. So fucking sickening pic.twitter.com/fEVLEgUfGh
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 18, 2016
She couldn’t understand where all the hate came from.
Ok I have been called Apes, sent pics of their asses,even got a pic with semen on my face. I’m tryin to figure out what human means. I’m out
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 18, 2016
Considering that these tweets were racist, hate speech, many users were asking Twitter to suspend these accounts for violating the site’s user terms. They issued this response.
“While we don’t comment on individual accounts, here’s an explainer on our content boundaries here…” and they linked to their rules page.
Leslie wrote this statement in a series of tweets.
It’s so sad. Most of these comments sound like they are from ignorant children. ‘I’m the source of AIDS?!’ WTF!! These people hate themselves. You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate. I mean, on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out. I don’t know how to feel. I’m numb. Actually numb. I see the words and pics and videos. Videos, y’all. Meaning people took time to spew hate. … Like no shame or compassion for human life. It scares the fuck out of me!
I used to wonder why some celebs don’t have Twitter accts. Now I know. You can’t be nice and communicate with fans ‘cause people crazy. As much as I love live-tweeting, posting the pics of awesome things that happen in this life I’ve been blessed with, I don’t know anymore.
As much as you want to think actors ain’t human, I want to give you something to think about. I work off pure passion for this game. I’m more human and real than you fucking think. I work my ass off. I’m not different than any of you who has a dream to do what they love. I’ve never claimed to be better or special. I just try to do my job as best as I can. Isn’t that any of us, y’all? So yeah, this hurts me! It’s like when you think, OK, I’ve proven I’m worthy, then you get hit with a shovel of hated. I’m numb.
I mean, I know there is racism. But [am] I that naive to think that some things was changing? Yes, I was. We still live in a world where we have to say ‘black lives matter.’ I’m so tired of it. Why is this still a fight? I want to hate so bad, but I can’t because I know it doesn’t fix anything and just makes me sad. I’m not stupid to not know racism exists. And I know it will probably live on way after me. But we have to make people take responsibility, responsibility for the hate they spew. We have to stand up to it. Block [motherfuckers] but let them know they are racist and spewing hate. Stop saying, ‘Ignore them,’ or, ‘That’s just the way it is,’ ‘cause that’s bullshit. Everybody knows an asshole. Check them for their hate. Stop letting people get away with being ignorant. … Say something. Stop letting the ignorant people be the loud ones. … Be louder. I’m tired of everybody not believing they can change something. We are the people. We can change anything if we want.
I just am saddened today. Twitter, I understand you got free speech. I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let [hate] spread like that. You can see on the profiles that some of these people are crazy sick. It’s not enough to freeze [an] acct. They should be reported.
And for all the ‘don’t stoop to their level’ people, it’s way past that. So please have a seat. Don’t tell me how to react. ‘Cause I have every right to be offended and pissed.
… I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now.
Later, Twitter issued a more in depth statement.
“This type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we’ve taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others. We rely on people to report this type of behavior to us but we are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to prevent this kind of abuse. We realize we still have a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues.”
In response, #LoveForLeslieJ was started by MarissaRei1, also known as T’Challa Black Girl.
— T’Challa Back Girl (@MarissaRei1) July 18, 2016
From there, director of Ghostbusters, Paul Feig picked it up. Celebrities like Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Loni Love, Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City”), Margaret Cho and Courtney B. Vance and Angela Bassett tweeted in support of her.
I’ve written about this before but it seems that when it comes to Black people, the hate speech and racism directed against us isn’t taken as seriously. It’s so commonplace, so excepted people lump it in with “free speech.” I literally saw a girl on Facebook argue that it was freedom of speech that kept the Klan from being classified as a terrorist group. But the Black Panthers with their message of Black unity and economic empowerment was targeted by the FBI. It’s the reason why George Zimmerman was able to tweet a picture of the dead body of Trayvon Martin but when he uploaded images of his naked ex girlfriend, along with her phone number and e-mail address, that’s when they decided to take action.
Thankfully, enough people spoke up today to catch the social media site’s attention. But what about those Black women who don’t have the same following as Leslie Jones?
That’s the short answer to the question posed in the title for this post. The longer answer?
Social media is a minefield of opinions and Internet memes with facts and trolls dispersed throughout. It’s pretty much a gumbo of very little facts and a ton of hot takes. While it’s easy to navigate the day-to-day banter about everything from Donald Trump to Rich Homie Quan’s onstage flubs, when it comes to breaking news and events that spark outrage, sensitivity levels heighten, misinformation spreads, and it’s not so easy to keep the online peace.
For instance, during last week’s Dallas shootings, where five police officers were killed during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, I tweeted a few words that could have easily been translated to “What did we expect?” I was emotional, hotheaded and didn’t mean to insinuate that I didn’t care about the lives of the police officers or their families. Had I left it up, it was only a matter of time before someone would have hopped in my mentions to assume I was somehow celebrating the death of cops. So before the update could even shimmy down my timeline, I quickly deleted it.
Now, deleting tweets (unless of course there’s a typo) is considered cowardice nowadays. Most often, I’m NeNe Leakes to the bullsh-t (“I said what I said!”), but when people are on edge, it’s almost impossible to tweet an opinion without someone taking your words out of context. Personally, I shy away from causing an online sparring match with some random as to not distract from what’s important. Like why Philando Castile didn’t make it home safely with his partner and her daughter. I also like making a clear point so my stance on an issue isn’t really up for debate. Folks like Bomani Jones and Jamilah Lemieux are A-1 troll slayers, who could’ve easily spent the evening of the Dallas shooting (and the next day) swatting at opposition. But for the majority of us, it’s best we stick to ignoring the white noise. It’s not good for your spirit anyway. When we’re grieving as a community over senseless violence, focus on processing the news and being reasonable, not arguing with some user with a Confederate flag avi. Unless someone wants to have a thoughtful debate, where you can either educate them or learn something, keeping a vague tweet or Facebook status on your page is not worth it.
We also live in an information age where spreading sensationalized fiction is much easier than digesting the cold, hard truth. It’s not just social media. Whatever is shared online spills over into the real world, so a falsity the size of a mustard seed can sprout into a viral headline if gone unchecked. For that reason, don’t post that outdated article (that you didn’t even read first) to your Facebook news feed. Also, don’t retweet some news you’re uncertain about (I still don’t believe these efforts to tie Micah Xavier Johnson to Black Lives Matter, but whatever). Make sure your news source is respected, unbiased and confirms its reports before sharing. Tip? Sources like the AP, Reuters, and the New York Times should be some of your first go-to outlets.
Lately, reports have been so emotionally taxing that we should all step away from these social apps anyway. Being constantly inundated with your friends’ opinions, community reactions, graphic images and press conferences is overwhelming. Some days, you just need to log out, binge-watch Power and take a breather. I mean, J.Lo is out here tweeting and deleting #AllLivesMatter crap, so know that anyone can play themselves on these social platforms. It’s in your best interest to be clear and know when to hold off on posting. But If you are dead set on joining the social media circle during these times, choose your platform wisely. To be honest, sometimes 140 characters are just not enough to explain your POV. Instead, take your full sermon to Facebook and Snapchat.
Don’t get it twisted, though. Monitoring your tweets isn’t to appease others or make others feel more comfortable. In fact, sometimes making people uncomfortable can be the best way to change one’s mindset. However, keeping your social in check ensures you’re not regretting what you type when emotions are high. It’s also about respecting others and being kind to yourself. Trust me, it’s a niceness, and one that’s appropriate in these moments when we’re all just completely fed up.
All in all, use your voice responsibly when discussing such touchy matters. Tweet intelligently, only share the facts, and file those inappropriate “too soon” jokes away for a later time (or the 10th of never).
In February we found out Sundial Brands was reviving the iconic product line of hair pioneer Madam C.J. Walker and we even did a review of the Beauty Culture haircare line. But Sundial isn’t just concerned with making sure your hair is laid, the brand also wants to empower women to achieve their goals like Walker, which is why today it launched “I Can Because She Did.”
According to a news release, the platform was created to “raise awareness of Madam Walker’s significant contribution to American society and inspire women around the world to be bold in the pursuit of their dreams.”
The first aspect of the platform is the digital campaign, #ICanSheDid, which includes an online meme generator women can use to celebrate their individual accomplishments and the women who have inspired them along their journey via photo uploads, social sharing and posts that complete the phrase “I can ____. Because _____ did. Be ____.”
“Madam C.J. Walker has been widely celebrated as a source of pride and inspiration in Black History for almost a century, but the truth is that she is an American icon and an inspiration for every woman,” Richelieu Dennis, founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, said in a news release. “Like so many women aspiring and working to create the life they desire, Madam Walker lived with a vision that was beyond her time – a vision for the way that things could be, not the way they were. She accomplished what no woman had done before, and with #ICanSheDid, we are inspiring women today to do the same – while recognizing and celebrating the many women who have come before and proven that the ‘impossible’ is indeed possible.’”
The #ICanSheDid movement also includes 20 short films “showcasing entrepreneurial women influencers who represent the timeless ideals of Madam Walker’s audacity, ingenuity, empowerment, spirit of service and confidence to blaze her own trail.” Some of these influences include style expert and media personality Tai Beauchamp; wellness entrepreneur Latham Thomas; editor-in-chief of Heart & Soul magazine Anita Kopacz; recording artist Renee Neufville who was half of the R&B duo Zhané; actress Eden Duncan-Smith; author/filmmaker/attorney Crystal McCrary; and therapist/emotional empowerment expert Christine Gutierrez.
Log on to www.icanshedid.com to access the meme generator and begin spreading the message of empowerment to your network. You can also watch the video vignettes on the site.
I don’t often participate in Facebook’s “challenges.” Mostly because the word challenge is misused. It’s basically just an opportunity for people to either brag about their life or give the people they know a chance to brag about what they know of their life. You’ve seen them, the people of Facebook created the one where women in relationships were challenged to celebrate their men. There are the ones that ask your friends to share their first memory of you. There are challenge where you reveal 25 things no one knew about you (which I did participate in) and one where you have a dollar and have to “buy” the relationship characteristics you want your partner to have.
This is no shade or judgement. I do enjoy reading most of them. But these days, I mostly use Facebook to talk about news and ideas.
But there was one particular on I kept seeing pop up on my newsfeed that caught my attention. It’s this Transformation Challenge, likely known by a couple of different names. For this one you’re supposed to compare you first profile picture with your current one. Perhaps the initial goal of the challenge was to see how much you’d changed physically. But the more it started spreading, the more people thought about the mental, emotional, and psychological changes that had taken place as well.
And while I had seen the pictures compared side by side with one another, it was this deeper level of introspection and authenticity that appealed to me. I thought about my own two pictures, vowing to compare them in my head before I wrote a post about them.
When I did, I recognized just how much I had changed, the lessons I had learned. And I realized that was indeed worth sharing.
So here’s mine.
For some reason, Facebook doesn’t record this as my first profile picture. But I know it was because this was taken by my sister Vanessa during my college orientation. A couple months later, when she and my parents left me in Missouri, it was her who told me it was time to start a Facebook page; something I had been avoiding, and we chose this picture. I love my before picture because it reminds me of my fear.
The entire summer before I went off to school I was so nervous that I lost my appetite. I ate but, literally for three straight months, I was never hungry. It got so crazy that I had an endoscopy to make sure that I was ok. Nothing was wrong with me, physically. I was just so mentally preoccupied that food became obsolete. The mind is strong, y’all.
This second picture was taken, five years after I graduated college, right outside of the office of what was my dream job, where I’m still employed. I still love the actual work of the job but when you get what you want, you see things you never considered. Aside from the makeup, locs, and accessories, the woman on the left is more confident and able to stand on her own. (The day this before picture was taken, my sister informed the family that she was my crutch. Facts.) And this woman on the left is a LOT less scared. There are very few things I fear now, very few. I arrived at this place mostly because the woman on the right learned that God’s got her. There’s something about being away from home, away from familiar that causes you to rely on God in different and new ways. And that’s when things start really poppin’!
(And on another, entirely different note, I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m not bleaching. Lighting, photo retouching, and time of year make a huge difference. So y’all think about that when you accuse Beyoncé of whitewashing.)
What I found most inspiring is that my words, my journey were able to help some of the people who read it. And that’s pretty cool. I encourage you all, not necessarily to take part in this challenge, but do look at the two pictures and think about how far you’ve come.
Some of us believe that following a breakup, unfollowing your ex on social media sends the message that you’re clearly hurt over the split, and in some ways, displays a level of weakness or immaturity. But others believe that once it’s over, there’s no need to keep up with the goings on of your former flame whatsoever, so why follow them? Of course, it all depends on the person and where they are in terms of dealing with pain (or lack thereof) from the dissolution of the relationship. If it’s been a while and the romantic feelings are gone, following your ex probably feels the same as following an old classmate. It’s whatever. But if you haven’t fully moved forward, you’re setting yourself up for failure–and some hurt feelings.
At least, that’s what a new study featured in the journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking states. About 464 individuals whom all have Facebook accounts and have experienced a split from an individual who also has a Facebook page were asked to take a survey about their social media habits and relationships. What researchers found was that 57 percent of participants were still “friends” on Facebook with their exes. Forty-six percent of these people said they still had exchanges with their exes through the social media site, but didn’t really talk outside of Facebook. They concluded that continuing to follow you ex, even if you don’t talk on the phone or anywhere else outside of social media, could have a major impact on your personal growth. In fact, the study points out that maintaining communication with them via social media could be a lot worse than actually having conversations on the phone and meeting up. Why? Because social media exposes you to facets of a person’s life that you wouldn’t know about otherwise. This kind of information, according to the study, can intensify heartbreak. That information includes seeing images of your ex with a new romantic interest, or viewing pictures of them super happy while you’re still feeling down in the dumps.
And yet, it was also found that Facebook exposure sometimes helped the individuals studied move on. As the results pointed out, those exes we don’t follow can “remain shrouded in an alluring mystique,” while those we see and know the whereabouts of can lose some of their luster in the post-breakup recovery process. Basically, you realize they’re not all that after all.
However, those behind the study said that overall, personal growth was mostly stunted for the large group of people who remained friends with their exes on social media.
As Tara Marshall, Ph.D., lead of the study and of the department of psychology at Brunel University in the U.K. told Mic, “The more you can minimize exposure, the more space you have to move on.”
Got it, doc. But I think we all knew that following our exes and delving into the lives they’re leading without us is far from healthy. They do call them an “ex” for a reason…
Remember when social media was a new thing? Or more importantly, when it used to be fun?
I’m talking about the days before mama, grandma, and your aunties and ‘nem joined and started judging your every comment, picture, and relationship status update.
In the early days of MySpace and Facebook, you would gather up your pictures on a scanner (terrible quality by the way) to share with your bunch of friends (or the thousands of strangers you decided to let into your world), excited to interact with people you met at college events and orientations, or just through the world wide web. It was all so simple.
But I should have known that things were going to go downhill when they introduced the “Note” option on Facebook. Out of nowhere, you were being tagged in long messages from ex-boyfriends, stressed friends and the like, where absolutely too much information would be shared. Don’t even get me started on the “As this year comes to a close” notes.
And then, as big events rolled around, whether it be holidays or presidential elections, you started seeing a different side of the “friends” you pretended you knew. Irritated by their rants about your favorite candidate, tired of their gripes with small, harmless things, inundated with subliminal attacks on significant others, former friends, and “haters,” hell, even beefs with the Christmas holiday, it was as if people started to have too much to say and share. Nothing was the same.
At this point, you log into Facebook and other social media pages and find yourself bombarded with all kinds of things that don’t really enlighten or enrich your day to day. Instead, they get on your absolute last nerve. And according to research, these messages and Debbie Downer people can actually leave you depressed.
In a study done by the University of Pittsburgh in March, 1,787 American adults were asked to share how much time they spent on social media, and they had their risk of depression assessed through a questionnaire. What researchers found was that, on average, people spent about 61 minutes on at least one platform during the day. The more time spent on it, the greater the risk of feeling depressed. As Cosmo pointed out from the study:
What you’re exposed to when you dive into your social accounts is also a huge player in how positively or negatively they affect you. Consider signing on to a feed filled with angry political rants, updates on breaking tragic news items, and hundreds of posts about people struggling with, say, debilitating illnesses or interpersonal turmoil. Compare this to perusing a newsfeed peppered with adorable animal photos, funny quips, and inspiring quotes. Chances are, the latter would be more likely to make you smile while the former would make you feel anxious, aggravated, or sad — no matter how strong your self-image is.
I wouldn’t say that I was left feeling down in the dumps by the actions and statements of the people I followed, but I definitely found that my mood would morph when I would come across certain negativity. Irritated by bait set to cause trolls to attack people comfortable in their skin (from women without makeup to plus-size girls and even EJ Johnson), over the shots of people sending the most mindless and offensive memes around with the caption “#facts,” and exhausted by the pointless, self-absorbed images people would post back to back to back in a day, I thought that I just needed another sabbatical from social media–my second in a year. But as my friend pointed out, I just needed to do some cleaning.
“Unfollow them,” she said.
Could it all be so simple again? In the back of my head I always imagined that such a move would create drama. In college, if you unfollowed an individual, say, on Facebook, they would notice. We were so thirsty to have a gang of “friends” that looking and seeing a decrease in just one would leave people feeling some type of way. But as she pointed out, “You have to filter out the negativity. Just follow people and things that bring you a sense of peace. There’s so much foolishness out there.”
And so I did. I clicked and clicked and clicked unfollow until I was left with the people I actually knew from school, media work, and my old neighborhood. That and fitness enthusiasts to keep me inspired. No more looking at friends of friends I had never spoken to, mean-spirited pages, or just flat-out ugliness. It has made surfing social media to be inspired, uplifted and enlightened so much easier…and dare I say, fun.
And I think that’s what more of us need to do for our mental stability and in our search for positivity. Some of us often feel trapped staring at feeds filled with foolishness and videos with the most ridiculous behavior to the point where we feel drained after scrolling through after a few minutes, but continue staring at the shenanigans anyway. And considering that we spend so much of our day on social media (at least an hour based on the aforementioned study), we need to do a more thorough job, for ourselves, of being better gatekeepers to the things that infiltrate our psyche and our spirit.
Social media is a big part of the way we communicate, get our news, and just stay connected to the world around us. Considering that it is something that will likely expand and be around until the next great tech development surfaces, for the sake of your sanity, know what to invite in, and what to block (or unfollow) out.
It was just a week ago that Tamar Braxton announced that she was taking a break from social media. But homegirl couldn’t stay gone too long. Today, with an image of a bag from Shake Shack, she announced her return.
And in case you thought, the week gave her time to get over all the drama behind her firing from “The Real,” you would need to think again.
A fan posted a picture of the ladies from “The Real” in a group picture. In the image, Tamar is either photoshopped into the back or she really was sitting away from them. Either way, there is a distinct space between her and the four other women.
Then, the caption for the meme says:
“When you in a room full of phony b*tches and you have to distance yourself.”
That’s one thing. The internets always have something to say about the latest gossip.
But it was Tamar’s response that has our eyebrows raised.
The former host was the first person to respond to the picture, writing “Pretty much” with the nail painting emoji.
Honestly, it’s sad to see it all playing out like this.
None of us know what happened behind the scenes, but literally just weeks ago, these women were calling each other sisters. And now Tamar’s co-signing to another woman calling them bitches.
You’re trying to share a post with one of your friends on Facebook, but for some reason you can’t find her. You check the spelling of her name for the third time. Nothing. Wait a minute, did she unfriend you? Why can’t you find her?
It’s a familiar scenario. Friends who were staples on your Facebook page, suddenly vanish. This time, however, you investigate further to discover that your friend has gotten off of Facebook. “I needed a break,” she replies to your text. “I needed to spend more time with the kids.” It sounds similar to your bestie who took a month off of social media to gain control of what she called a ‘social media addiction.’ She used the time to be more productive and present with her twins.
You’d be lying if you said that it didn’t make you feel just a little bit jealous. Walking away from Facebook is like walking away from a caramel sundae with nuts. Most times, it’s complete overindulgence, but knowing that fact doesn’t make it any easier to say no. Yet, some moms are doing just that. Dare you say it’s a trend?
What’s up with moms quitting Facebook?
You ring your friend T., a mom of three who got off the social media platform, but recently popped back on. For her, the issue was privacy. “I would meet people I barely know and they would mention some of the things I mentioned on my Facebook status. I felt uncomfortable with the notion that we live in a glass bowl and everybody can peek in.” The break ended up being a year, (who knew it was that long!) and it took the death of a childhood friend to bring her back. “My last interaction with her was on Facebook, so it was a way for me to reconnect.”
There’s also your friend Susan, a mother of two young’uns under the age of three, who cancelled her Facebook account because she felt completely overwhelmed. She believes her absence from social media makes her a more fully present mom. “I feel like I’m in the camp of those moms who don’t feed their kids processed foods or non-organic produce. Like I’m looking out for my kids in an extra-special way.”
She did, however, venture into the YouTube vlogging pool recently, with a certain amount of trepidation. “I go back and forth all the time about featuring my kids on my channel. Do I mention their names? Do I include their images in videos? Do I tell cute little stories about them that could mortify them later when they get older.”
These are definitely valid concerns for any mom who uses social media platforms for work. Exactly how do you strike a healthy balance between mothering and social media when completely cancelling your accounts is not an option?
Dr. Kristin Carothers of the Child Mind Institute says that there are a few things moms can do to find that balance whether using social media for pleasure or work.
1. If you think you’re too often engaged in social media it might be a good idea to keep those apps off of your phone so you’re not constantly getting notifications and posting all day.
2. Give yourself a certain amount of time, say 30 minutes a day, to engage on social media. That way, you’re not getting off of it altogether, which might make you feel deprived and cause you to binge.
3. Give yourself rules about the things you post. If you have 1,000 friends on Facebook you might not want to share intimate details about your family. Know what you’re using it for. Is it to communicate with your closest friends and family? Knowing that will help determine the types of things you post.
It looks like moms have been quitting (and returning to) Facebook for various reasons for a while now. So is it a new trend? Not really. The good news is moms don’t have to completely vanish. Hopefully, more of your mommy friends will stick around, even if less often. Honestly, it’s not necessary that you see them posts every day, a simple status update every now and then will do.
Tayja Jones wasn’t going to go to her junior prom. The 17-year-old hadn’t planned on it but was persuaded by those close to her to attend. So she did. She got all dolled up, put on a sparkly dress, got her hair and makeup done and stepped out looking and feeling like a million bucks. “I felt good, and I was happy,” Jones told the local Fox affiliate in Philadelphia.
After having a great time with her friends at prom, she posted a picture of herself on social media smiling and called it a night. The next morning, the confidence she exuded on her big night deflated substantially. Her photo had gone viral. But not for the reasons a young person would hope for.
Somehow the image spread and people were attacking her looks.
“People I didn’t know were just like, ‘That dress is not for her. She looked like a fat something’…it was just really hurtful. I was so confident the day before, and it just changed my view of myself.”
Thankfully, the teen was eventually showered with positive messages from people far and wide who wanted her to know she looked and is beautiful. That includes singer Kelly Rowland.
Tayja Jones you are beautiful and fabulous doll! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/M7m2amAFkI
— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) May 3, 2016
With the help of all those people, Jones was able to think positive. But she does admit that her self-esteem has been shaken to its core.
As I read Jones’s story, I couldn’t help but be sad. When we were growing up, we all had people who said disrespectful things to us, and maybe some of us were bullied by our classmates. However, those individuals were people who knew us, in some way. Whether they had classes with us, were involved in similar extracurricular activities, or just knew us from moving around the school. They were haters who didn’t want to see us shine. It was hurtful, but you got over it.
These days, complete strangers who don’t know you from Adam will make it almost a sport to tear folks down. They know nothing about your story, your state of mind, obstacles you’ve had to overcome, but for entertainment, will steal your image, pass it around and berate you. And for what? The snaggletooth grown man who decided to demean Jones made it very clear in an Instagram video that “I don’t give a f–k about that little a– girl and her f–king prom.” He just wanted to share the hateful opinion that her friends and family lied to her when they said she looked cute and let her leave the house for the night. He said all of this while dressed in a zip-front sweater, a plaid button-down shirt, pronouncing “looked” as “lookded”:
A video posted by Baller Alert (@balleralert) on
Clearly life hasn’t been too kind to him…
Jones is a bigger girl, yes. And so what? What can we do to change that? What can she do, on her prom night, to change that? Absolutely nothing. And yet, it took nothing for people to speak ill of her on the most magical evening of her young life, despite the fact that she’s not just someone’s child, but an actual child.
And this is what scares me. All the power complete strangers have over the way we see ourselves, specifically over the way our young people see themselves. People who have nothing going on in their lives use social media, which is supposed to have so many positive advantages, to be as ugly as possible, even to children. And it’s especially scary because so many young people put themselves out there on social media in the attempt to find individuals who will boost their self-confidence and amp up their ego, which they’re too young to have fully formed. The confidence we should be building and maintaining within them they are seeking from other people. And to make matters worse, they have their self-esteem broken by people who’ve never had a conversation with them and couldn’t give a damn about who they are and what they have to offer the world.
Behind computers and phones, many of today’s young people lose sight of reality. That’s why my niece, who is just an everyday college student, has thousands of followers on social media. She takes pictures in sports bras and tight dresses, showing off a faux confidence that would blow your mind but barely likes to make conversation with when you’re face-to-face because she’s so shy. It’s why my nephew’s social media friends beg one another to post their pictures so they can accrue more followers, even though when I sat with him during a recent visit home, in a quiet voice while staring forward (he was too shy to look me in my face) only had a handful of friends in real life. It’s why Jones told reporters she was so confident during prom, but attacks on her body “just changed my view of myself.”
I can’t imagine what any of this is like because social media was a whole lot of nothing when I was growing up. The only comments I ever heard about my prom pictures came from friends and family I showed them to, people who had nothing but love for me. But today’s kids only know how to share, share, share, and unfortunately, they don’t realize that they’re sharing so much of their vulnerable selves, and in turn, feeding themselves to the sharks.
I have always maintained that technology marches us forward and backward at the same time. We gain some benefits, but we lose something too. How many phone numbers do you have memorized these days? It is rapidly becoming apparent that people are leaning more and more to losing their humanity as we becoming more inundated with tech.
A bold father decided to teach his 17-year old son a lesson in an apparent act of “old school discipline” with a “new school” tech twist. The son left school without telling his father, which was a direct order if the boy was to leave. This infraction resulted in a bloodied nose. The video has now gone viral resulting in millions of views on Facebook alone.
The dad says in the video, “Granted, I know teachers can be f***ed up so I let him know he can walk out of class, but call me so I’m on your side,” the father tells the camera. ” All day went by, he didn’t call. So now it’s discipline time.”
The father finishes talking and calls the boy out. First, the son puts on his loves and then the dad put son his. They box. At first, it seems somewhat innocent, but then the son begins to bleed heavily from blows to the nose. The dad continues to pummel the son.
At the end of the video, the son is forced to apologize to his teacher for walking out of class and dad ominously says the next “report card better be golden.” Lesson learned?
The comments on this story were not one-sided but any stretch of the imagination. Some folks felt it was flat-out child abuse, while others thought the boy’s treatment was a sadly needed mixture of discipline and humiliation.
One of my friends, Lee Hawkins made a compelling indictment of the father.
Hawkins commented: “People don’t see this as “violence” but if this same method were used against or dog or a woman they would be coming for this man’s head. He would be all over the national news. But when it’s used against a small black male it is applauded! This young man has less value than a dog in the eyes of millions of people. And if a woman is beaten like this it is ‘domestic violence’ but if a child is beaten like this it is seen as ‘love’. Sad as hell! We can be better, but we have to do better. First step in that process is to go through self-examination and rid ourselves of the slave mentality. And to stop expecting the police to show our young people respect if we can’t show them respect ourselves. This was 10 times worse than the police officer who slammed the little black girl at the pool party. But we wanted him to lose his job and applauded this minstrel for beating this little boy. So counterintuitive and, as I say, ‘ignant.’ Just sayin’. smile emoticon.”
One woman fiercely advocated for the actions of the father. “Come beat mine and talk to them for me please. These lil fellas of mine is more than a hand full, “Latrese said. “My beatings don’t work.” Later, she would expound saying that beatings were reserved to let kids know that the child made a more serious mistake.
Personally, I can find no place in my heart to justify the action by this father. To me, it was brutal to watch. Couple that with the millions and and millions of people that will bear witness to the sons embarrassment, it is just wrong across the board. I understand everything about where Black boys are these days, down to the pathetic rate of high school graduation and black-on-black crime. Did I mention my dad “jacked me up” once? It was nothing like this and he wasn’t proudly parading his actions for the world to see. There must be a better way.