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African Black Coalition
Black Student Leadership Training
University of California, Berkeley
September 14, 2013
RATCHET MEDIA
‘Oooh, she ratchet’
NIGGAS
BITCHES Be like
“When you control a man's thinking you do
not have to worry about his actions.”
“If you teach the Negro that he has
accomp...
‘THE MEDIA’
Who controls ‘the media’?
THE BLACK PRESS
‘Soldiers without Swords’
TWITTER REVOLUTION?
“the spirit of the people is greater than the man’s technology”
- Huey P. Newton
EMMITT &
RODNEY &
OSCAR &
TRAYVON
#BlackatCal
BLACK STUDENT MEDIA
‘To Plead our own Cause’
3%
48%
Black Students
Feel race is disrespected
Black Media Use
• TV primary source
• High use of mobile media
• “Black Twitter”
• Laptops popular
• Youth (generally) hig...
Media Access
New Media
• Online Videos
• Websites & Blogs
Tradition
• TV
• Newspapers
• Radio
• Word of Mouth
– Class anno...
Technology & Internet Access
• Laptops
• Wireless Internet
Platforms
• 83% have mp3 players
• <50% have AM/FM radios
Mobile
• 81% students use phones for Internet
• 91% of students who use phones for Internet
also news-related websites
• 7...
Social Media
• 92% Facebook
• 46% Twitter
• 35% LinkedIn
• 19% Tumblr
Info Awareness
• 35% not informed about California news
• 35% uninformed about campus opportunities
• 29% uninformed about...
News Interests
• 94% “Black Community”
• 83% Education
• 81% U.S. news
• 79% Local
• 79% World
• 75% Health
Campus Media
• Daily Cal
– Print: 27% read weekly
– Web: 54% never visit site
• KALX
– 17% listen occassionally
• Onyx Exp...
black information ecosystem
• to combat alienation & isolation
• build self and collective pride & consciousness
• Fight i...
Recommendations
• Onyx Express
– Central hub community of information
• Website
• Use Social Media
• Central event calenda...
Facebook.com/ONYXEXPRESS
?
#BSLT2013
Principles of Ma’at
Truth
Justice
Harmony
Balance
Order
Reciprocity
Propriety
#ucabc?
Reginald James
r.j@berkeley.edu
Reginaldjames.info
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing
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#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing

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Black Students Be Like:
How do we use social media and technology to change the the self-image of Afrikan people and combat the negative images distributed in mass media?
This workshop deconstructs how corporate media distributes racist images of Black people, how Black students both consume these images and even share them on social media, and how students can use technology to promote positive images of Black people and support grassroots organizing efforts.
Case study of efforts at UC Berkeley with #BlackatCal, Onyx Express and Afro House.
Presentation from 1st Afrikan Black Coalition Black Student Leadership Training, September 13-15, 2013.

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  • Identify the images in thiscollage. Clockwise from top-center: “She ratchet!” video, two black men making fun of black women; Hella Ratchet mixtape by Oakland rapper Mistah FAB; Miley Cyrus (ok, you can’t even see her face and people recognize her whiteface-twerking; far-left-bottom, Malibu’s Most Wanted; center-UC Irvine Blackface from last spring; and top left, White Jesus, white supremacy passed off as Divinity.
  • The top and bottom are results from Internetsearch:The top, simply “Jesus.” The bottom, “Black Jesus.” (note: cracker jesus)While both have parody images, Black Jesus both a cartoon, Obama w/ a perm, and so-called “Ghetto Jesus.”I share this because the perpetuation of these images in the media continue to socialize Black people to have a sense of inferiority while giving others the false sense of superiority.
  • Let’s talk ratchet. Give me a two sentence definition of “ratchet” and an example.
  • Instagram search for: ratchet &amp; ratchethoetotal ratchet posts: 3 million, 300 &amp; 96 thousand &amp; 92 posts (8am, as of 9/14/2013)The definition of ratchet, according to an Internet search. So when you see people tag their IG posts, what are they saying? How are they defining ratchet with their actions and internet posts? Memes and Masta’s Messaging:Now, I want to discuss memes–the viral internet graphics that pass messages on in seconds. What are the messages we get from these memes?urban dictionary: 95 definitionshttp://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ratchet
  • Early memes like the Peanut Butter Jelly Time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8MDNFaGfT4This “skeptical African kid” has been remade multiple times. But I highlight this one because many people in the U.S. come to associate Facebook activity with activism. It ain’t. You have to do more than “Like” something to contribute. And thinking you’re going to “Save” some poor African kid is problematic.
  • Niggas be likeBitches be like
  • Authenticity &amp; friendship
  • Student loans
  • The Original 2ChainzfeaturingKuntaKinte
  • Sarah Baartman be like
  • Gentle sexism
  • Attack on Black-Male unity
  • Critiquing blackface &amp; current events
  • Who is this? Why do we know who he is?My brother Durwin Brown asks this question, who is woman in background? What’s her name?People got so caught up with Antoine Dodson, they forgot that someone attempted to sexually assault his sister.
  • Antoine Dodson Sweet BrownCharles RamseyThree poor black people who committed heroic acts, but became “Internet sensations” for their punchlines. These three beautiful people end up becoming a form of entertainment for white audiences. And we consume these poisonous representations, that their acts of heroism is funny, all because we crave seeing ourselves. Heroic “Black neighbors”bravery: sexual assault (Dodson), fire (Brown), kidnapping (Ramsey)not only do we over share these images of black people, but we killing ourselves consuming these images. “Shaking our heads while clicking play.” (Helene Andrews)any, average black person capable of entertaining white people
  • the flip side: these individuals demonstrate our own tradition of black storytelling. griotsOur people have long history as poets,historians,singers,musicians, and Teachers. At yesterday’s elder’s panel, we saw this tradition. Underlying issue of white consumption of black entertainment
  • Mis-education by Carter G. Woodson“When you control a man&apos;s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his &apos;proper place&apos; and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”
  • Who controls “The Media?” Specifically, who controls corporate media?
  • Only a few companies control most of the information disseminated through mass media. TV is most important for us, since that’s where the majority of Black people get their news.
  • And we’re being spoon fed bullshit.
  • But there’s always been a better alternative for us: The Black Press. Fighting for freedom, justice, and equality since 1827.
  • The founders of “Freedom’s Journal” (1827)The black press video (02:20)
  • My hero:FrederickDouglasMy shero: Ida B. WellsTwo crusading journalists
  • Black Organizations have used the press to fight for our freedom and redemption.Mirror of the Times (California Colored Citizens in 1850s)Negro World (UNIA)MuhammadSpeaks (Nation of Islam)Black Panther Paper (Black Panther Party)
  • The Black Panther Party newspaper
  • In recent years, there’s been much discussion about a Twitter revolution. Some people mistake the methods as the means and the message. Meaning, some people give Twitter the credit the people deserve. I argue that its not the technology itself but how we use it to complement our on-the-ground organizing. To quote Huey P. Newton, “The spirit of the people is greater than the man’s technology.”
  • The so-called “Arab Spring,” and the “Occupy” movement at the Port of Oakland. As illustrated by these Muslimahs in the photo, holding up peace signs with cell phones, mobile communications was major part of their mobilizing.
  • TechnologySo whatever technology our people use, whether it was drums or our thumbs, we adapt it to our struggle.Emmitt Till’s mother used photography; Rodney King’s beating was video taped, as was the murder of Oscar Grant. Trayvon’s murder was not, but it was online organizing that led to George Zimmerman’s arrest.
  • Emmitt Till; Rodney King beating; Trayvon Martin. I use the last image as that is the message to George Zimmerman from this young man child; stalked by a “creepy ass cracker.”
  • Fruitvale BART Station, Oakland, California. The background shows the BART station ticket gate with a billboard for the film, Fruitvale Station. To the left, a photo of BART cop Johannes Mehserle, taken by Oscar Grant, moments before murder Mehserle shot Oscar in the back. In the moments before his death, young Oscar knew to use his cell phone to capture an image of the officer brutalizing him and his friends.
  • Again, speaking of the virality of these images: The image on the right is the “Justice for Oscar Grant” poster, with what is an iconic image of Oscar Grant in Oakland: black beanie with a black hoodie. In the center is spoken word artist IseLyfe and me in his video wearing an Oscar Grant shirt.
  • To the left, Jamie Foxx wears a Trayvon Martin shirt at an awards show. Fox News’ host Bill O’reilly asks if it is “racially insensitive?” To the right, an image of Martin Luther King wearing a hoodie. Remember, part of the awareness campaign for Trayvon was people wearing Hoodies.
  • The Cal BSU at a Trayvon Martin action in Oakland. Our sista in the back with a hoodie, our brother on the mic.But who is holding the microphone? What does this say about who controls discourses and narratives on issues that impact us?
  • To understand how the narrative on the Black experience is told and how students receive news, I conducted a research project in fall 2011. This past year, I’ve been promoting the community adopt this hashtag as a way to share our stories, images, and experiences.
  • What follows is a summary of that study, focusing on how students use technology to receive information.
  • Black students are about 3 percent of the undergraduate population at Berkeley. Nearly half of black students report feeling disrespected due to their race. To the right is an image from the 2010 “Blackout” in solidarity with UC San Diego. The campus magazine Onyx Express captured the action and story in its semesterly magazine. My recognition that online journalism could fill a void for the community led me to conduct this project.
  • Literature Review: The literature on Black media use states we primarily get news from TV, use cell phones a high rates–often when we lack internet–and are overrepresented on Twitter. Laptops are popular among young black people. Finally, young people, in general, are interested in news they feel affects them or is relevant to their lives.
  • The results of my study show that New Media is most popular with students: online videos, websites and blogs. Meanwhile, TV, newspapers and radio are less popular. Students also use word of mouth extensively, including conversations, classroom announcements, mass text messages, and posters and flyers, to share information.
  • Technology/Internet Access: Despite the “digital divide” in the larger Black community, students have access to laptops and wireless internet (at least on campus).
  • Platforms: Students have mp3 players and also use smartphones to access media. Most students do not have radios.
  • Mobile: Most students use phones internet, and many search Internet for news. Also, a high proportion have smart phones.
  • Social Media: Facebook most popular, nearly half have Twitter, and many others use LinkedIn and Tumblr as well.
  • Info Awareness: Many students do not feel they are informed about issues and news that affects them.
  • News Interests: Students have high interest in news about the “Black Community,” followed by Education, U.S. news, local, world, and health news.
  • Campus media is not very popular with the Black community. However, the campus’ Black publication appears to be widely read.
  • To combat the feelings of alienation and isolation, to build self and collective pride and consciousness, and to fight injustice and for equality, Black students at Cal have developed an alternative information ecosystem. This system uses social media, black community spaces, and word of mouth to tell stories of success, reach out for assistance, and to build community.
  • My original recommendations after the survey were to develop a website, use social media, utilize the African American Student Development offices BlackBoard (or central calendar). I also noticed that magazine staff for Onyx Express not prepared to do news reporting, so I suggested creating a media class. Finally, I suggested replicating this survey on other campuses, with the ultimate goal of connecting all campuses and Black students.
  • Onyx Express: Facebook page, over 200 likes in past year.
  • Adding photos and short stories about the Black community.Above, Black Wednesday. Below, special feature on the “Afro House” and efforts to reclaim the house for the Black Community.
  • Last Halloween, a fraternity lynched a Halloween display. This zombie was hanged right across the street from the African American Theme Floor. Students mobilized around the issue. This story quoted by Daily Cal, showing how black media can influence campus discourse and narratives.
  • Students turned out in mass to ASUC meeting to share other injustices. From top right, Erma Sinclar, then BSU president, bottom right, Naomi Wilson, who helped restart BSU in 2010; Salih Muhammad, then CalSERVE chair; and Marcel Jones addressing senate. In these images you can see how the community mobilized.
  • In fall 2011, after Republicans held racist bake sale, there was also community response. The “Affirmation,” a response to bake sale and other issues received little media attention. Most mainstream attention focused on Republicans. It didn’t help that multicultural activists had gag-order. Point: Media could have been used to promote our narrative.
  • Positive images of Black students:Afro House residents Gabby and Sabrina, both BSU members; McNair Scholars Destiny and Mariah.
  • Group photoCal BSU
  • Title page for Afro House.
  • Images showing changes at Afro House.Left, info graphic showing demographics. Top-right, flyer for Afro House party. Bottom-right, meme “Afro House be like.” Also, #TBT as it shows black residents from 2003.
  • Flyers: soul cinemas series
  • Afro Hosue also on Tumblr. Notice the use of the “Afro House be like” meme.
  • This meme by Mylo Mu speaks to a certain discourse and understanding of Frat Row. It recalls the “Effigy” or mock-lynching.
  • Finally, going back to how we at this training can use internet culture. Using the #BSLT2013 hashtag on Twitter and Instagram allows use to share this experience with each other.
  • How will we use technology to promote our values?If we turn up, is it to turn back towards the values of Ancient Kemet? I end by sharing theprinciples of Ma’at. How can we incorporate Truth , Justice, Harmony, Balance, Order, Reciprocity, and Propriety into our actions. Especially our work with new media/
  • Lastly, how can we use this technology–like hashtags to stay connected? Will we adopt #Ucabc as our hashtag? Or is there another way we can stay connected?
  • If you have any suggestions, contact me. Let’s stay connected.Reginald Jamesr.j@berkeley.eduMy website: Reginaldjames.info
  • Transcript of "#BSLT2013 From Ratchet to Revolution: Social Media, Technology, and Black Student Organizing"

    1. 1. African Black Coalition Black Student Leadership Training University of California, Berkeley September 14, 2013
    2. 2. RATCHET MEDIA ‘Oooh, she ratchet’
    3. 3. NIGGAS BITCHES Be like
    4. 4. “When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.” “If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race. Such an effort would upset the program of the oppressor in Africa and America.” Carter G. Woodson – Mis-Education of the Negro
    5. 5. ‘THE MEDIA’ Who controls ‘the media’?
    6. 6. THE BLACK PRESS ‘Soldiers without Swords’
    7. 7. TWITTER REVOLUTION? “the spirit of the people is greater than the man’s technology” - Huey P. Newton
    8. 8. EMMITT & RODNEY & OSCAR & TRAYVON
    9. 9. #BlackatCal
    10. 10. BLACK STUDENT MEDIA ‘To Plead our own Cause’
    11. 11. 3% 48% Black Students Feel race is disrespected
    12. 12. Black Media Use • TV primary source • High use of mobile media • “Black Twitter” • Laptops popular • Youth (generally) high interest in news
    13. 13. Media Access New Media • Online Videos • Websites & Blogs Tradition • TV • Newspapers • Radio • Word of Mouth – Class announcements – Mass text messages – Posters & flyers Original Media
    14. 14. Technology & Internet Access • Laptops • Wireless Internet
    15. 15. Platforms • 83% have mp3 players • <50% have AM/FM radios
    16. 16. Mobile • 81% students use phones for Internet • 91% of students who use phones for Internet also news-related websites • 75% of students have a Smartphone
    17. 17. Social Media • 92% Facebook • 46% Twitter • 35% LinkedIn • 19% Tumblr
    18. 18. Info Awareness • 35% not informed about California news • 35% uninformed about campus opportunities • 29% uninformed about major-related news
    19. 19. News Interests • 94% “Black Community” • 83% Education • 81% U.S. news • 79% Local • 79% World • 75% Health
    20. 20. Campus Media • Daily Cal – Print: 27% read weekly – Web: 54% never visit site • KALX – 17% listen occassionally • Onyx Express – 56% report reading magazine
    21. 21. black information ecosystem • to combat alienation & isolation • build self and collective pride & consciousness • Fight injustice
    22. 22. Recommendations • Onyx Express – Central hub community of information • Website • Use Social Media • Central event calendar through AASD • Media Training Class • Replicate on other UC Campuses
    23. 23. Facebook.com/ONYXEXPRESS
    24. 24. ?
    25. 25. #BSLT2013
    26. 26. Principles of Ma’at Truth Justice Harmony Balance Order Reciprocity Propriety
    27. 27. #ucabc?
    28. 28. Reginald James r.j@berkeley.edu Reginaldjames.info
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