Growing up in the South, things tend to be a little less diverse in terms of intercommunity diversity. I was called an “alternative Black person” pretty quickly, which means there’s an assumption that I enjoy something about white space, or I’m doing something weird or different. Neither are actually true. I liked what I liked, and I had my own experience, and everyone has their own experience. So, if my own experience is louder than yours, then I’m called “alternative.” But really, you have your own experience too, and you’re just probably more afraid to show it.
I think I read pretty easily and what I’m talking about is being like, “Really? That’s what you’re talking about?” I’m pretty obvious in that. So, there’s some of it where I just can’t hide it, and I don’t try. I think what I had to prove in my message is consistency. So, people like me who are often assumed to have strange intentions or betray culture in some way, or, you know, called “Oreo’s.” I think that what I had to show was like, “Yeah, I am myself, and myself doesn’t mean that I can’t understand what’s happening.” And there’s been a long history of it meaning that if you seem like you’ve been in white space, you can no longer be trusted. So, earning trust was important, and I got to do that as myself. But it was actually important that I did that as myself. To say there are versions of Black people that don’t look and sound the way that we’ve associated with these movements, and it’s not lost on us either.
Social media is given too much credit and not enough credit at the same time. We’re thinking that we can somehow revolt via social media, but the definition of revolution would tell you that’s not true. I can’t revolt on the thing that comes from the corporation that’s controlling me and collecting my data. You can’t do it here. If you’re not going to be honest, then there’s no good to it at all because you’re performing authenticity. I think that we’re living in an illusion if we believe that we are creating our own narratives there. That’s not true. There is something to be said about watching the patterns of social media. One week it’s this story. Next week it’s this story, that story, and then you just watch us all comment on the same one or two stories. That is not controlling your own narrative. Unless we’re reporters, that came from somewhere. Who gave it to us? Who started this? What happened? We pretend we’re not fed that stuff. Then there’s the promotion of group thought, hashtag culture, and being scared and shamed for disagreeing. It’s a scary place to get online, it’s too quick.