The presentation that I feel that I learned the most from was probably Shay’s on Blaxploitation. I learned the most from that mostly because it was a topic that I felt that I was already sufficiently introduced to, which made digesting the information easier. I loved learning about the new movies and information out there about activism in this industry. I was particularly fascinated by Melvin Van Peebles and his choice to make a film about black people that would reflect the culture. Shay’s presentation made me want to watch films like Sweetback which was quoted as being able to make African-Americans stand tall and proud with each other.
I was also particularly confused about how black people were said to be represented as sub-human in film before the world war. Shay’s presentation chronicling the development of African-American in film was particular enlightening and really helped me understand how this came to be.
Question: How has sports activism changed over the years in terms of media responsiveness. Has the media become more critical or more accepting of athlete stances on non-athletic issues? How has the population responded to this change in media activity?
Response: Over the years, the media has become more accepting of athlete activism as shown through more balanced coverage as well as more resources to see why these athletes hold this position. I plan to prove this by pulling information from media from the time of early activism, such as newspapers from the 1960s all the way until the modern media coverage of today. I intend to see how the media has changed in their responses. If possible, I’d also likely to incorporate an element of how fans specifically have responded to this, by possibly seeing interview clips of fans from the 1960s about Ali, to viewing the social media comments of fans today. I intend to prove the change in media coverage by calling upon the more favorable media sources explaining activist agendas, examining the history of being moe multicultural and how this has caused the media to be more accepting of different perspectives.
The feedback that I received mostly had to do with my posture and my presentation. However, as it relates to the content of the presentation, my audience commented that I should make explicit what I want to accomplish in my RBA. Previously, I had not given any indication about what I wish to explore in the future, but after the presentation I have added that into the infographic as a series of questions.
Essentially, my main research question is how exactly has sports activism impacted the direct actions of kids and citizens paying attention to the movements of today. My tentative thesis is that the actions of sports heroes has influenced the youth of today and has made a tangible impact on society today.
- Social Media and Activism
- Activism and Education
- Activism and Sports
- Activism and the Government
- Activism on College Campuses
Of all these great research topic ideas, I feel that Social Media and Activism is the most important topic to explore. The reason that social media has such a powerful influence is that fact that so many users are involved with it. For example, in a survey conducted in 2016, it was discovered that almost 80% of Americans enjoy using social media, while about 2 billion people in the world have a social media profile. This makes it imperative to be responsible when using social media, for countless people can potentially see what is being published. Activism and social are particularly popular on social media, with millions of users discussing politics and the injustice they feel going on in the world today. Furthermore, social media is the primary way by which other citizens see what happens in other parts of the world. For example, during the summer of 2016, a woman posted a Facebook live video of her boyfriend being shot by a police officer. This horrific tragedy garnered mass attention on the internet, and caused increased rancor and dissatisfaction in several communities.
Other than simply disseminating information, social media can also be a way for people who haven’t met each other in real life connect and talk about the different problems troubling them today and how they can act upon it. Activism can spread its influence from even one continent to another because of how social media can connect people. The “Black Lives Matter” movement has similarly spread from simply being endemic to certain regions of brutality to being a trending topic on social media platforms across several continents.
I found this topic to be extremely interesting because it dealt with and culture jamming and the way society today focuses on symbolism and what it represents. For instance, Jordan states, “The Nike website for women is called NikeGoddess; if you buy Nike, you don’t get shoes, you get to be a goddess” (108). This type of imagery explains a lot about how society today functions; in particular, it shows how certain brands of today are associated with greater prestige and wealth.
The author also connects the idea that branding has become so integrated in our lives that many modern events are now seen through the eyes of cultural symbolism. For instance, he comments “the gulf war is often referred to as the nintendo war” (110) primarily because the war was around the time nintendo came out with a game, and the images of the game were similar to what was going on in the battlefield. This is particularly interesting to me because it shows that as a society, we have come to such levels in terms of being dependent and excessively following technology.
I feel that these points are extremely important when thinking about contemporary activism because slogans and branding are ways by which many important messages are disseminated today. For instance, “Black Lives Matter” is an important expression today that began its birth as the product of intelligent marketing. This expression has brought millions of new followers of the movement to restore justice for African-Americans. Another similar expression, “hands up, don’t shoot” is also very popular today primarily because the expression has become associated with police officers committing acts of brutality towards reportedly harmless and innocent African-American men. With the advent of social media, it is now easier than ever to have trending hashtags that highlight political awareness and standing up for a cause. The association of brands to new ideas and movements clearly has a compelling effect on audiences.