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SOCIAL CULTURE & HISTORY || INTERNET HAZE [3]



I recently sat down to get my frustrations out about the internet generation via webcam. Ironic I know, as I am a part of this generation and I certainly do enjoy the internet. Said video will never see the light of day, but the video above serves as a nice introduction to the sentiments I will express here.* 


I was browsing tumblr for a brief moment (well, more like an hour, really) a few weeks ago and saw a photo on my dash with a white woman holding a black baby somewhere in Africa with the caption “I  miss this". The commenter  pretty much gave the perfect book summary of what an academically and politically conscious person would say upon viewing a photo as such. Despite my usual lack of tumblr commentary, I felt the need to articulate my support for the accuracy of their words (it almost felt like a neutral response despite its potential controversial nature given the knee jerk reaction that a politically and socially informed person would say). So naturally, I say: “Homegirl said everything right.” #nojudgementzone. After a few days, my friend mentioned to me about some one who called me transphobic on Tumblr. I am not hip to checking my activities, in fact, I didn’t even realize such a tab existed. After some digging I found the comment and felt disappointed in myself for offending this person. I still do, but I am also a bit disheartened by how assumptions this person was of well, my assumed assumption. 

This may sound like bull, but I really didn’t check to see who posted the comment. I follow mostly women on my tumblr so I just assumed it must be some knowledgable awesome (black) woman that said that hence my use of “homegirl”. It’s not right, but I’m being honest Again, #nojudgementzone. Now, I’m not here to try and validate my comment. If someone is offended, you should apologize- no if ands or buts, and that’s exactly what I did. Upon reflecting though, I realized that while I was assumptious, so was the person responding. There was no questions asked, no dialogue started, just a wall built. Now, I don’t know if this equivalent of pulling the “black friend” card, but I’ve taken my fair share of Women's & Gender Studies courses so I try to always be an ally to women (and men) who aim to complexify what it means to be of a certain gender, or those, that simply what to remain genderless. I didn’t appreciate her assumptions, and what felt like fighting fire with fire. Though tempting, it doesn’t ever bring forth much productive change. I felt as though this moment served as a bridge to these observations I have been having of people on the internet for quite some time now. While living my life in a way of doing rather than always wanting to do, I have discovered that relationships with the internet can become rather unhealthy. 

The internet is a place for reflection and realizations, but not really for experiencing. If you are always consuming and navigating around the same circles of the web, how are you evolving into yourself? There is a time for just indulging in the internet, but it certainly can’t be healthy to stay in such a bubble. I mean, there’s a whole world out there and no matter how close the internet may feel to that, it’s not. His response was assumptious not only on the level that I consciously went out of my way to insult his gender (In fact, I still keep having to edit the gender pronouns I use as I write this very blog post, so something's definitely up- I need to reflect on this more), but it’s also assumptious in terms of the world we live in. There are so many struggles that happen outside of internet with people who are transgender. I guess I just felt as though that word was unproportionately placed, that if it was anyone else, they would have put up a wall, and that in the world we live in, this wildly ignorant world, patience is a virtue. Is that an unfair ask? I'm still not really sure. Again, I am still in a process of re-learning and re-accessing topics as such. 

I have learnt so much while getting outside of this circle of assumed consciousness. I met a young person while abroad that “gets it” but doesn’t, and so many are like that. They know all the issues to critique, all the hooks**, I mean books, and conscious writings out there, the movies, documentaries, lecturers, and scholars, but yet, they are swallowed by it all. They don’t practice existing in this world where so many people don’t have access to that, nor care to. They think everyone should function as them, believing that things like homophobia, racism, and colonialism etc. should not exist, and yet, only having a dialogue within the groups of people who already “get it.” They don’t step outside of themselves. They don’t get uncomfortable. They automatically rule out everyone who they believe is not on their level of “consciousness” instead of assisting them come to their own honest short-comings in their knowledge on the subject. That’s bullshit. I am black and while it's not always a burden I love to bear, I have embraced the responsibility that it comes with. In fact, I am rather proud to be a part of the movement that aims to shift societal norms, though I know I probably won't see real striking change in my generation. 

I remember when there was a dialogue on my school campus about being black or a person of color on a predominantly white college campus and a wise young woman on the panel asked the audience to look around for a moment, right before dropping some badass knowledge: “We are the diverse group of people on campus, talking to the diverse group of people on campus.” Essentially saying that we are having conversations over and over again between ourselves, instead of outside of ourselves. This is why we must get out, not only physically, but mentally. 

Get out of yourself.
To get into yourself. 
And get over yourself.***

I guess life just isn't as personal to me anymore, I guess I have decided that I don't really live for myself, I live because I am myself. There isn't really much room for us to be arguing amongst ourselves... 

* Julian is an ARTIST.
**WGS joke, get it? eh? eh?
***#newlifemotto. 



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