Tag Archives: Snapchat

A Snapchat nation won’t work

black-lives-matter-1By Signe Lambertsen

“Black Lives Matter,” white privilege, income inequality, campus unrest, unemployment rates, drug-related arrests and jail time, are but a few of the topics that guest speaker Tim Wise unfurled at the audience during this year’s CCSU “Bridging the Gap – A Dream Deferred.” The event was the culmination of this past semester where many  CCSU communication classes  focused on (among other things) the above-mentioned topics. Having continuity in the overall subject matter gave us students the opportunity to engage in critical thinking and prolific discussions all across campus.

Wise’s speech lasted over an hour and he then engaged in more than an hour of questions. The time flew by.

Wise began his speech with an admission that, even after his more than 25 years as an activist for racial equality, he, “shows up in these spaces in full recognition that my body fits this aesthetic of being a white, middle-aged male,” often speaking to an audience that is not. “It’s not lost on me that I’m the one standing here. But until we give weight and breathe to a black woman who can say what I am about to, with more validity than I can ever possibly have, we are not free.

Somehow, stating the fact of his “whiteness” allowed us, the audience, to recognize and acknowledge that we also entered this event with our own biases. It seemed to allow us to settle in to his topics without assuming that he was focusing his rhetoric from the point of view of a white male but rather as a well-researched, long-term activist who articulates often difficult subjects nationwide.

Many of his topics revolved around privilege – specifically white privilege. By definition, white privilege is “a set of advantages and/or immunities that white people benefit from on a daily basis beyond those common to all others. White privilege can exist without white people’s conscious knowledge of its presence and it helps to maintain the racial hierarchy in this country.” “The biggest problem with white privilege is the invisibility it maintains to those who benefit from it most. The inability to recognize that many of the advantages whites hold are a direct result of the disadvantages of other people, contributes to the unwillingness of white people, even those who are not overtly racist, to recognize their part in maintaining and benefiting from being white.”

Speaking as a white female and a self-proclaimed anti-racism advocate, I found myself clapping and sometimes cheering as he poignantly wove his rhetoric into a memorable storyline. I took notes of quips that I wanted to look back upon as I continue my own quest of understanding what being “white in the room” means. But over the past few days, as I really started thinking about it, I can’t help but remember how he labeled us “a Snapchat nation, whereby our attention stays focused for about 10 seconds and then is completely forgotten.” That is how we deal with history. Nothing he said is new but, as a white person, I have the privilege to pay attention at will. My goal is to do better than that – for myself, for my children, and for my nation.

A Snapchat Nation

imagesBy Jibreel Mahmud

We are becoming a second-to-second collective in this country. What I mean is that day-by-day we are becoming a more technologically oriented nation. We have access to information all around the world in a microsecond. We have become accustomed to coverage of events, entertainment, etc. to be delivered to our eyeballs within the moment we want it.

The rise of social media such as Vine and Snapchat have whittled our conversations down to 6 and 10 second pictures and video clips. In the case of Snapchat, once you view a colorful photo or “story” a friend it is gone after that initial viewing.

According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, our collective attention span as of 2015 is less than that of a goldfish.

The rise of technology and social media is a factor in this staggering decrease in attention span. This is a fine example of Technological Determinism. Where the technology of one society shapes the culture at large. Speaking for myself, in the last few years I have been using my phone much more frequently than I ever have before.

I have noticed decreased dedication ability when focusing on one task. Watching a movie on my phone that I’ve been eager to watch is dashed by the desire to check Facebook, or text a girl I’ve been talking to.

Even writing this blog is delayed by invasive thoughts of doing something else. With access to ongoing issues all over the world it is difficult to dedicate ourselves mentally or emotionally to one thing for a long period of time.

Tragedies that have occurred in recent years, whether they be school shootings or any recent terrorist attacks, have faded from the public who at the height of the hysteria were gung ho for systematic change have died down and the collective pain we felt has faded. Nothing registers or permeates as vividly as it down about 15 years ago.

At CCSU’s Bridging the Gap: A Dream Deferred event on Dec. 10, educator Tim Wise brought up many excellent points relating to the title of this blog. He discussed that in history class we are given a glimpse of the horrific treatment of Blacks during their time as slaves during the civil rights movement of the 1960s but we are not always shown to us in school due to the shame our country felt.

Like Snapchat, we are given something and due to our decreased attention spans we see it and it’s gone forever never seen again. It almost never goes further than the classroom discussion. I can speak to this because in the majority of my history classes once I learned something for a test it was gone. Only now have I begun re learning what I thought was dull and unnecessary.  With this decrease in our attention spans I have to ask can we learn from our mistakes if we can’t remember them? I suppose it’s just as Mr. Wise said, we are living in a “Snapchat Nation.”