Thursday, January 16, 2014

Multiculturalism through social networking

Were not going to lie to you.

Three years ago, we despised social networking. Despite having a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a highly neglected Myspace account(does anyone even still use Myspace? => ) , for the most part, they were often unused. Created just to say we owned one. Overtime, we did get into Facebook. But to be honest, it's a bit like the "new" Myspace. It just tends to connect you with people you think you may know.

But Twitter? Tumblr? Pinterest? LinkedIn? There are so many, that at times it becomes difficult to keep track of the ones worth joining and the ones worth ignoring.

And then came Goodreads. Mind you, we didn't jump on Goodreads with it's start up. But it became our first online community that we became highly invested in.

Until Goodreads, we assumed diversity in books was just a myth. A desire that only WE wanted. Or, if we weren't the only ones, we were a small group. Not enough to band together to demand to see diverse images in the books were investing our money in.

Goodreads has it's downsides. There is no question about that. But it was the first social networking site, that the both of us took seriously, because it was after all about one of our many loves. Books.

We created a book blog for our love of books, but it wasn't until we began really looking under rocks, that we didn't always have to read books featuring a "default" white character. This is not to say there is anything particularly wrong with reading white main protagonists. We've read them my whole life, so I cant say that I have any issue with that as a whole. What we do take issue with is that a "default" white character makes up such a great majority of these stories being told, that there is often no balance between finding a greatly written book that is by a person of a marginalized group, and/or  features a main protagonist from a marginalized group.

Many authors and readers touch these subjects in different ways, some are for diversity. Others often feel the need to be defensive on the matter. Many are often in-betweeners. They don't often look for it, but would not turn it down if it were suggested to them. But the fact of the matter is, representation is a big issue for marginalized groups. And when people from marginalized groups try to defend it, they're referred to as "sensitive" or as people who must "wait their turn."

Social Networking is slowly changing that. Mikki Kendall, a fed up Black feminist created the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen. And the words from many often ignored groups spoke out. Another hashtag spawned from that by an editor at Ebony, Jamilah Lemieux called #BlackPowerIsForBlackMen. But it's not just a black thing. It's never just been a black-white thing.

Suey Park, creator of hashtag #NotYourAsianSidekick proved, that just because many choose to ignore certain setbacks for marginalized groups, including pitting marginalized groups against each other , does not mean they go away.

Diversity, diversity, diversity. For as long as we can remember, it's been the only thing we've found something to be so devoted to. And because many groups who have been marginalized for so long no longer have to live in silence, social networks appear to be able to give and project voices in a way they've never been able to reach.

Granted...Social networks does have it's disadvantages. While marginalized groups can speak up about their experiences, mainstream audiences also take this as an opportunity to spew ignorance, hatred, and their disdain for a changing world. We don't feed individuals like that. Nor will we ever give them credit, or highlight this by forgoing to highlight any links or information about this negativity. 

We aren't about highlighting negativity or proving one group is better. We are just about letting others know there is not ONE universal voice. And with social networking, we can become an even bigger voice. =)

1 comments:

  1. Many authors and readers touch these subjects in different ways, some are for diversity...........
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