#Blacklivesmatter, inspired protests around America, attempting to change the ongoing violence against people of colour. Social media helped creating public backlash and outrage against the police’s continuous actions, as incidents against black people all across the nation could’ve previously just been brushed off. Yet the people power behind social media, presents the public with the ability to look at all these occurrences and highlight the obvious systemic oppression evident in society for themselves. Leading to the push for change in the treatment of people of colour by police and authority figures, along with calling out bias presented in mainstream media’s reporting on the issue. (Day 2015)
“What is violence? Is violence denying people proper access to food, housing and healthcare? If you’re referring to rioting, I guess it’s a reaction to the system in which we live. The state is violent.”- (Day 2015)
This discussion started over the murders of young black teenagers, has also bought consideration of cultural appropriation. The banning of Native American Headdresses at Osheaga music festival and the Edmonton Folk Festival in Canada have helped implore to the general public the cultural appropriation is more serious than simply wearing an item of another culture which is not your own. (Marsh 2015) Emphasizing that during British colonization, many individuals were banned or persecuted from practicing aspects of their culture or religion. Even today African American women are expected to ‘control’ their natural Afros without cornrows or dreadlocks in order to look ‘professional’ and maintain jobs. Yet on white women such as Kendall Jenner, cornrows are a fashion statement. She can adopt that aspect of the culture and be praised for her beauty yet so many women of colour are instead treated with scorn and stigma for the same look. (Johnson 2015)
Societal change doesn’t happen overnight, but through generational shifts. Educating the public over these issues raises awareness and outrage. We are in one of the many first stages to real change.
Black lives are more than just statistics.
- Day, E 2015, #Blacklivesmatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement, Guardian, viewed 19 August 2015, <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/19/blacklivesmatter-birth-civil-rights-movement?CMP=share_btn_link>
- Johnson, M Z 2015, What’s Wrong with Cultural Appropriation? These 9 Answers Reveal its Harm, Everyday Feminism, viewed 19 August 2015, <http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/06/cultural-appropriation-wrong/?utm_source=SocialWarfare&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare>
- Marsh, C 2015, Osheaga’s headdress ban shows festival’s zero tolerance for cultural appropriation, Guardian viewed 19 August 2015, <http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/jul/17/osheaga-music-festival-headdress-cultural-appropriation?CMP=fb_gu>
- Sinyangwe, S 2015, The National Police Violence Map, Mapping Police Violence, viewed 19 August 2015, <http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/>