We live in a back-burner society: a society that has become insensitive and indifferent toward the injustices of the world. Those who depend on mainstream media to build their understanding are those who develop this back-burner mentality. One minute, an event or series of events is important. The next minute, it’s gone. The problem is, injustice doesn’t disappear the moment it is pushed aside to make room for “new” stories. This form of media coverage isn’t driven by a vision of spreading awareness and creating change, this form of media coverage is driven by profit. Free Press, one of the leading media reform organizations in the country, states that, “Massive corporations dominate the U.S. media landscape. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, these companies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear and read. In many cases, these companies control everything from initial production to final distribution.”
Another unfortunate reality of mainstream media is that many global events are often not reported accurately, if they’re even reported at all. This makes it incredibly difficult for people to fully understand certain situations, or to know that these situations exist in the first place. The truth is, awareness does not occur or exist without work. All forms of media make up a puzzle that takes dedicated time to put together.
A Tool for Resistance; A Tool for Unity
In the last five months, we have seen immense brutality and injustice from authoritative forces in the United States and around the globe, including killings in Albuquerque, Ferguson, and Gaza. Unfortunately, however, these acts of injustice are not a new phenomenon. One catalyst for the increased attention on these issues is social media. It has assisted in paving the way to LIVE news broadcasting that has proven to be a lot more accurate and unbiased than what we see on television. And what makes this type of coverage so special is the fact that the news is coming directly from the source; directly from the people who are living through the situation that is being reported.
So, what does that mean for social movements and global fights for justice? Well, this method of spreading information is opening the door for us to understand our interconnectedness. Despite the fact that corporate influences have steadily made their way into the flow of information, including on social media, people are generally still able to share unfiltered information. For example, the same tear gas that engulfed my twitter feed during the most recent genocidal bombings of Gaza, was the same tear gas that engulfed my twitter feed during the uprisings in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Ferguson, Missouri.
Furthermore, with Columbus Day just behind us, many people from around the world were recognizing the hashtags “#IndigenousPeoplesDay” and “#IndigenousResistanceDay,” which gave people an opportunity to recognize the interconnectedness between the continued occupation of the United States, and the occupation and genocide that is occurring in other areas of the world.
— Nick Estes (@nick_w_estes) October 13, 2014
— Haymarket Books (@haymarketbooks) October 13, 2014
We are a beautiful people. We are caretakers of Mother Earth. We are strong. We are educated. We are still here. #IndigenousPeoplesDay
— Native #’s (@Native_Hashtags) October 14, 2014
— Nanice (@itsmenanice) October 14, 2014
When media coverage is coming directly from the people, it makes it so much easier to clearly see that injustices overseas, across the country, and in our local cities and towns are all connected to each other. Therefore, we are all connected to each other.
On a personal level, I have always been somebody who strives to break the barriers that exist between people; cultural barriers, racial barriers, and gender barriers, to name a few. I believe that our differences can be better put to use as tools for unity. It’s easy to look at somebody who may not be experiencing as many blessings as you and have pity, which is precisely what occurs within this backburner mentality. It’s a lot harder, but much more worthwhile, to look at the same person and realize that they too bleed the color red, and that you both share a common struggle for survival.