I was really impressed with Alexander’s TED talk–the content she conveyed, and the manor in which she conveyed it, made for a very informative and well-spoken lecture on the racial injustices solidly built into the very infrastructure of our country. What I thought was especially well done was how she chose to begin her talk: by explaining how she, like many people in this country and abroad, didn’t used to think and feel this same way about these issues. I think her inclusion of this information–which she easily could have forgone to instead include more frightening statistics or infuriating examples of injustice–really highlights the importance of education and exposure to other opinions and mindsets.
From something as small as a flyer, like the one Alexander saw that day, to something larger, like a freshman-level class on politics or race, someone who may have always thought a certain way about the world and the issues at hand could suddenly hear something that totally alters their perception about it all. I know from my own experience that the exposure to differing opinions and the encouragement of healthy discussion can sometimes be the catalyst that pushes someone to start questioning everything that they have learned, usually within a sort of “social bubble” that encompasses both their home life and their education growing up. In today’s digital age, I think now more than ever it’s easier to simply write-off someone for having a prejudiced, misinformed, or even blatantly unfounded opinion–a simple ‘block’ on Twitter or Facebook solves that problem, and exiting someone’s blog is all you need to do to help surround yourself with more like-minded people. This is precisely why it is so important to use these social media platforms to stir change, and help get messages and causes out there on a more mass scale. Even though it can be uncomfortable, and sometimes scary, spreading the word and really helping people understand the issues and injustices happening every day is an absolutely vital part of any successful social movement.