Our course this semester has started and been largely focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and the ways in which we can recognize the ways in which we can contribute to this movement. In White Like Me, Tim Wise discusses the effects of recognizing racial privilege and the ways in which we challenge our own notions of racial stereotypes. One of the most powerful things to note regarding activist movements is the strength of collective action in addressing a certain issue. One example that I would like to draw attention to is Letters for Black Lives. Originally started as a letter for Asian-American children to discuss the BLM movement with their parents and combat anti-blackness, the letter has now been distributed worldwide, translated into 30 languages with over 200 contributors.
We have discussed in class how media can be a dialectical practice, and this open letter format helps promote discussion and debate. As opposed to an op-ed or essay that can be stagnant, the letter and translating movement fostered intellectual discourse. I think this letter also opens up many questions regarding age and the BLM movement. Though this letter is specifically targeted towards “our parents” and their generation, how can we communicate these same messages to generations that are just beginning to enter this world where we hear recurring news of police violence and widespread intolerance grounded in institutional thinking? How can we promote acceptance in a still largely racialized world? I think it will be interesting to see how the BLM movement evolves with future generations, and what we can do now to promote tolerance.
Stemming from our class discussions, it’s important to recognize our own privilege when studying Black Lives Matter and thus how we craft our media manifestos. I am looking forward to seeing how each manifesto develops, and the ways in which we can transfer the activist media practices we learned in class to empower our everyday lives as participatory citizens.
From Week 1, 2: Black Lives Matter and Civil Rights Movement