Black bodies in America continue to be reduced to their surfaces and to stereotypes that are constricting and false, that often force those black bodies to move through social spaces in ways that put white people at ease. We fear that our black bodies incite an accusation. We move in ways that help us to survive the procrustean gazes of white people. We dread that those who see us might feel the irrational fear to stand their ground rather than “finding common ground,” a reference that was made by Bernice King as she spoke about the legacy of her father at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
The white gaze is also hegemonic, historically grounded in material relations of white power: it was deemed disrespectful for a black person to violate the white gaze by looking directly into the eyes of someone white. The white gaze is also ethically solipsistic: within it only whites have the capacity of making valid moral judgments.
I think one thing our generation has lost is the drive to enact change ourselves. We often begin great discussions and raise exceptionally valid points, but I think sometimes we fail to push things far enough.
Our generation has done some great things: pushed for wider acceptance of gay marriage and gay rights, demanded an increase in women’s equality, elected a black president, supported the democratic uprising in the Arab Spring with the unprecedented use of technology, and we began pushing for wealth equality with the Occupy movement.
But I think we need to begin pushing back more. We need to have our voices heard and have a much larger impact on those in charge, to have some of our own demands met. Some older generations call us the “entitlement generation”, but there are certain things we should be entitled to that are unfortunately far out of reach for many of us. Things such as education, health care, well paying jobs, and affordable food and shelter are just some of the things we are entitled to as human beings, but that are being withheld from us while being told we have not worked hard enough, we are not old enough, or we are not rich enough.
I think if the playing field isn’t levelled out soon, our generation will have serious uprisings and causes to protest about. We aren’t saying we deserve to be handed certain things, we are saying we deserve the right to earn it ourselves, fairly. Pretty soon the older generations are going to begin relying on us as we become the primary income earners and providers. You would think that fact would make those in power ensure we are in a good position to take care of them when that time comes. And it is coming soon.(via backpackersguidetoearth)
What we do on social media platforms is often analyzed as a performance or construction of the self. On this view, what we are doing is giving shape to our identity. What we “Like” is the projected identity, or better yet, the perception and affirmation of that identity by others. This, of course, does not exhaust what is done with social media, but it is an important and pervasive element.
When we think about social media as a field for the construction and enactment of identities, we tend to think of it as the projection, authentic or inauthentic, of a fixed reality. But perhaps we would do well to consider the possibility that identity on social networks is not so much being performed as it is being sought, that behind the identity-work on social media platforms there is an inchoate and fluid reality seeking to take shape by expending itself.