Social Media "Activists"

Critique of today's popular version of activism.

Jamaal Brewer

1/4/20223 min read

We are living in a fast pace world where people have their phones attached to them arguably 90% of the day. With such gadget, they are likely on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and/or more. In today's society literally anyone can be an online voice. Though that is good, there is also a lot of bad that comes with it. Along side a sense of false activism when it comes to the struggle of Afrikan people.

I was watching a video of a guy who's YouTube channel is called 'Pan Africanism Strikes Back.' A lot of his videos are rebuttals to the rhetoric of Foundational Black Americans (FBA). As many of us know by now FBA have spoken many anti-Afrikan sentiments . Some of them even go on with the notion that we are not even Afrikan but rather indigenous people of America. Pan-Africanism Strikes Back brought up a fantastic point in one of his videos. He mentioned (paraphrasing) how when these folks give a source to their information, it's usually a YouTube video. Not a book. Not an Encyclopedia. Not a document. But other YouTubers. Gone seems to be the days where people do extensive research like our greats Dr. Benjamin Jochannan and Dr. John Henrik Clarke who worked tirelessly not only to educate us on our real origins but they also gave blueprints on how to get back to it . Now people create their own beliefs in this Cyber Space and Meta World.

I recently recollected on an old episode of the 1990's sitcom 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.' The title of it is 'Will Gets Committed.' It's episode two of season three. Main character Will Smith goes into an old neighborhood and does volunteer cleaning. He met a young man named Noah who's in the community often. After a successful day, the young brother told Will he will see him next week. Will then proceeded to make a bunch of excuses on why he won't be able to make it. Frustrated by the response, Noah went on to say "I bet you feel pretty good about yourself don't you? You come down here, do the right thing, then you go home patting yourself on the back because you helped out the poor folks....You're just like the rest of them. You come around here with the 'X' caps and cool Doc Martens and you're all 'dope' and 'word to your mother.' And you think that makes you committed? Let me tell you something, this ain't no game. And if you think that it is, then maybe you should go home."

Will definitely took offense to that. But he had his rude awakening. At end of the episode after having a heartfelt moment with his family, Will decided to be more active in the neighborhood on a regular basis. This was 1992. Now it's 2022 and we have broaden this scenario because unlike three decades ago, people now have access to hundreds of thousands folks with a stroke of a button on the worldwide web. Instead of Volunteer work for one day like Will did, people now believe they are a leader because they re-share vintage Black videos or attended a police shooting rally. Let's face it and be honest. Though we don't want to discredit any efforts one may make, we do have individuals who are only active for self purpose. We are in an attention hungry world in which we want to showcase good deeds for personal gratifications.

The late great Kwame Ture use to mention how we have two types of people in our struggle for liberation. Organizers and Mobilizers. Mobilizers react to a cause and rally behind to it. Crowds typically come out and noises are made. But despite being mobile, changed is seldom made. As time progress, amnesia starts to occur and whatever it was in which the people was fighting for has become forgotten only to be repeated when the next tragedy or injustices occurs.

Organizers work in a way in which the struggle in continuous. A proactive approach. Chess not Checkers. Instead of waiting for the enemy to strike first, the Organizers builds institutions that prepares us to fight whatever obstacle is thrown our way. He or she also trains others to do the same and in doing so becomes a strong force for our movement. Malcolm X was an organizers. Though we are in love with his speeches, the Nation of Islam (Led by Elijah Muhammad) grew greatly under his watch as Temples were built in many cities due to his dedication. Even after he left the NOI, Muslim Mosques Inc and the Organization of Afro-American Unity was created and organized by Malcolm. He is a great example of what real activism is and what we should study.

Though we don't want to discourage anyone, at the end of the day there isn't always tremendous fun and games in what genuine action is. If we really knew what work it would take, then honestly some of us wouldn't use the word so lightly. There's nothing fun about being under the constant threat of assassination; having phone or computer monitored, being secretly photographed, having agents in our mist, and many more stressors that comes with helping Afrikan people. Revolutions are bloody and evil. Only few have what it takes to be emotionally and mentally strong to overthrow White Supremacy. Period