Recently, I attended a lecture put on by the University of Texas at Dallas’ diversity department. Journalist,author, and MSNBC host, Touré came and spoke to students and alumni about the role the media has historically played in the civil rights movements for African Americans, The LGBT community, women, Latinos, Native Americans, and the Arab Spring.
He gave us a thorough introduction that set a panoramic context for race relations in the country and made a Segway into television and continuous media representation’s shaping the way we relate to certain groups of people (which was my greatest take away from the whole shebang-I’ll get to that at the end of the post). Then he played a mini documentary that highlighted some of the most prominent moments captured by the media in these movements. Think: Selma, Stonewall, Wounded Knee, Cesar Chavez, burning bras, and YouTube in Syria. My favorite part of the film was hearing some of the honest thoughts of government officials, educators, average Joe’s, and media personalities of the time. It’s scary to hear some of the things they felt at liberty to say out loud to a camera to be broadcasted. I might add, that it’s questionably more disturbing now because people still carry these attitudes, but know that it’s not PC to say them so they let microagressions slip out instead. Anywho, moving onward.
After the film, Touré had a Q&A session. It was a healthy combination of thoughtful rhetoric from those wanting to be the change necessary for a better tomorrow and misguided youngsters waiting for an opportunity to undermine Touré for his refusal to stand in agreement with black Twitter regarding the superiority of the black man’s struggle in comparison to that of the other groups mentioned. To which Touré smugly retorted, “I’m not going to compete in the Oppresion Olympics.” Touché, Touré.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I couldn’t stay for the extended Q&A session because the grocery store was about to close and I didn’t have any food in my house. Priorities.
The most provoking question I pondered as I strolled the aisles of Sprouts when I left was:
As a content creator/artist/person with a platform,how much responsibility DO we have for adequately representing our people?
When I say our people I’m not talking race, specifically. I’m talking about whatever demographic you identify with.
Do you feel like you have to rep your set everywhere you go? Do you feel it’s part of your civic duty? Or are you impartial to the politics? *TI Voice*
Chew on that during your lunch break and holla back! I wanna know your thoughts.