How Do I Explain Why I Am So Angry?

stop racismAlex Landau could be my husband or my son. How do I explain the clenched feeling I get behind my sternum when I think about the injustice of racism in our country today – and the anger I experience knowing that despite being the smartest, kindest, most upstanding person I know, my husband is seen by many as just another threatening black man.
How can we use social media to raise awareness and address the plague of racism that has such a huge public health impact on people of color in our country?
And – how can we do so in a way that empowers people of color?
As Emily Roenigk explains in her article 5 Reasons poverty porn empowers the wrong person , we need to find ways black lives matterto use images and videos and microblogging that empower the oppressed in our society. I believe that giving a voice to the realities of racism – just as Alex Landau did in his film Traffic Stop above – is a start.
Addressing Health Disparities Using Social Media, Microblogging, and Multimedia Sharing
skin color is not reasonable suspicionLast week, I was inspired by my colleage Lucy Lee’s blog post in which she brings up the possibility of using social media to help address health disparities. Given that health disparities are one of my primary academic interests, it got my attention. She wrote: “Given the demographics of Twitter users (non-whites- Latinos, African Americans), and the ease of providing small bursts of information in different languages, the tool has great potential to reach minorities and help address health disparities (CDC, 2014).”
Additionally, in February of this year, the Pew Research Center reported that “YouTube is most popular among younger adults, blacks and Hispanics … Racial and ethnic differences also exist – blacks (76%) and Hispanics (74%) are more likely than whites (57%) to use the video-sharing site.”
Given the popularity of Twitter and YouTube for Blacks and Hispanics, it makes sense that campaigns to empower
communities of color could work well using these resources.
So, let’s do it well!we are all one bullet away from becoming a hashtag
Getting Savvy
Businesses and other for-profit organizations have developed tremendous expertise in using social media, microblogging, and multimedia sharing to their advantage. Let’s learn from them.
For example, Donna Moritz, an expert in visual social media marketing, recently shared a number of tips for excelling at multimedia sharing in an interview with Michael Stelzner from the Social Media Examiner
Ms. Moritz emphasized the power of using images or imagery to communicate, tell a story, or share a message because we process images quickly and are drawn to them.
She states: “People make decisions and take action quicker when prompted by images, rather than by reading a lot of text.”

stamp out racismno hatekids against racism
She notes that video (short), images, graphics, and infographics (with story or data) with the greatest impact – in order of impact – involve:
1) tips;
2) how to…;
3) quotes; or
4) check lists
Ms. Moritz recommends taking traditional written content and increasing engagement with it by re-purposing it into images.

stop police brutality no justice no peace stop klan terrori can't breathe
And, a great tip for prolonged success is to plan a series of images or videos that you will share one at a time consistently over a period of time in order to promote an idea or get a message across – something that can be planned in one day but implemented over months.


4 thoughts on “How Do I Explain Why I Am So Angry?

  1. Wow. This is an incredibly powerful post. I actually had to sleep on it before I could process it enough to respond intellectually as well as emotionally. I’ll try to sum up my thoughts in three general areas.

    1) You do a fantastic job of showing (rather than telling) how images can have so much impact. I wasn’t sure what the topic of your post would be from the title, but as soon as I saw the first image I knew *exactly* what you were going to talk about. Images have so much punch because there is less mental processing than with words. I don’t have to (or get to) develop my own mental image from words, it’s just there, straight from the screen to my mind.

    I also like that you started with an included a video, but that video wasn’t necessary to understand the post. That’s helpful for people with slow connections, or who don’t have headphones and don’t want to listen out loud, or for people like me who sometimes find video a bit too much. (It’s a personality quirk.)

    2) You make and excellent point about using images and videos to reach out to communities of color where they are, social media-wise. i think that a lot of people are coming to realize that video is and will continue to be one of the most powerful tools to drive change in America. This is specifically in light of all of the recent police violence videos.

    The old saying was that “The revolution will not be televised” (Gil Scott-Heron, meaning that it won’t come from NBC. Now I would say that the revolution will be live-streamed, Periscope-d and tweeted. And maybe that the live-streaming, tweeting, Periscope-ing and YouTubing will *be* the revolution.

    3) You don’t say it explicitly in this post, but you have made an important connection between public health and inequality and violence. A big part of eliminating health disparities involves eliminating systemic violence (since violence is in direct opposition to health). There are too many place where not only are health professionals discouraged from talking about violence, but in some states (Florida) doctors are specifically barred from talking about gun violence by law. A death from GSW is just as dead, and at least as preventable, as a death from a heart attack or diabetes.

  2. What a powerful post. I cannot image what it must feel like as a wife and mother having to go through that every day. Thank you for sharing something so personal with the rest of us. You did a fantastic job of combining how to use social media tools to address health disparities. Integrating a written message into photos really does have a strong impact. I think it was smart to include photos of children to illustrate the impact they can have on eliciting a reaction. Nobody wants to see a anyone suffer, especially a child. Last year, 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot and killed in Cleveland Ohio by policy about two seconds after they arrived on scene. He was playing with a bb gun. Although Rice was child, the police claimed he was the size of adult (he was 5’7” and 195 lbs) and they felt threatened. This is absolutely not an excuse for the actions of the policemen.
    In addition to pictures, I think written content can be really powerful to make the problem relatable to a wider audience. Your post is an excellent example as is Adiba Nelson’s personal reflection I’m A Black Woman And I Don’t Want A Black Son ( Any parent regardless of color would never want to experience the anguish of losing a child. Public health organizations can use different social media tools to reach different target audiences they are hoping to get response from. Photos may create awareness about a cause. Personal stories can further educate individuals, communities, policy makers, etc. Organizations can use a combination of strategies within a social media campaign to reach more people. As a result, police in some areas are required to wear body cameras now. This is a first step and the momentum of the #blacklivesmatter campaign will (hopefully) continue to put pressure on policymakers to address health disparities.

  3. Thanks for this deeply moving post, Liana and to others for the profound comments you’ve added. I think the OP was really effective at not only creating acute awareness of an issue, but also conveying a sense of injustice without victimhood about it. Had you, or even Alex Landau, come across at all like victims it could have been a turn off for some readers – probably the very ones who most need to be enlightened. You made really good use of both images and text, as Jill and Margot have said, to convey a complex public health issue without being technical or distancing average readers. Great job! Violence, in all its forms and with all its victims, has been recognised as a serious public health issue for some time. The CDC has outline a high level, four step approach to preventing violence – It includes identifying protective factors – “Characteristic that decreases the likelihood of a person becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence because it provides a buffer against risk.” But this somehow assumes that both victims and perpetrators are interested in reducing the violence. So, blogs and campaigns like this one are essential to create not only awareness, but an appetite for change.

    In our live session earlier today (last night for you), Darcy said that we can grab people’s attention with our personal stories. She also said that putting yourself into your blogs, Tweets and posts and making yourself vulnerable is important to be able to engage authentically in the discussion (I’m paraphrasing). This is a very authentic, personal and powerful post.

    BTW, revolutions have already been live-streamed. Google “Arab Spring social media”

  4. Liana, this is a powerful and a difficult post take in. As a mother and just a person who has experienced subtle forms of racism at times, I can only imagine the pain and anger that you must feel. It really is a great injustice, and one that we must have a greater social consciousness of and work harder to address. Visual images are really the best way to tell this story, and you’ve done that so well. As the Steizner article noted “Sometimes words aren’t even necessary”. I am humbled that you took note of my post, and wanted to share an example I heard on the radio of how Twitter is helping to dispel the stereotype of an engineer ( This twitter campaign went viral. I took note of it because it made me think about how something small like this can really be a seed for social change. It inspired me that perhaps Twitter can play a role to dispel myths about minorities.

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