Black millennials use smartphones to increase awareness of social issues
The increasing number of smartphones has helped spread awareness of social causes and current events in the public eye.
According to USA Today, 91 percent of black millennials own smartphones and spend two hours more a week using the internet on personal computers than average millennials.
Topical Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram
For social change to occur many people must voice their opinion and take action to fight against prejudices, said Raquel White, a School of Engineering first-year student, who is also a black millennial.
Although social media proved effective, she said it is not always enough.
“It is not acceptable that racism still lives in the United States, a
An increase in the number of smartphones and other social media devices has brought attention to black Americans being killed by police officers, according to CNN.
The incidents involving the deaths of Eric Garner and Alton Sterling may not have been brought to public attention if not for cellphone videos provided.
“Technology and social media
Social media allows individuals to send messages and convey feelings to people not only in the black
Anderson and White said they participate in voicing their outrage toward brutality of black people within the criminal justice system.
It is not just millennials who feel compelled to contribute to an online community, said Kim Butler, an associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies.
“Technology has been critical for democratizing and disseminating information. For example, police violence against people of color, women, the LGBT community and poor people has routinely been shielded from public view, and accusations against them discredited,” Butler said.
She said cellphone videos allow for documentation of this type of aggression in unprecedented ways.
"These videos have helped create a visceral awareness of ongoing problems, much like the 1955 public viewing of the body of young Emmett Till after he had been lynched and tortured," she said.
Relating public lynchings of the past to present-day spread of injustice on social media, she understands the importance of sites like Twitter.
“Of course, Twitter has allowed people to mobilize rapidly, share information and consolidate new
Butler said she tries to impart the idea of equality and the importance of diversity in her teachings at Rutgers, highlighting some significant distinctions in technology to her students.
Black America is incredibly diverse, encompassing different languages, cultures and points of view, she said.
Now is a time where there is unprecedented access to black voices speaking for themselves, she said.
"This is something that Rutgers, as well as the nation as a whole, can benefit from in the effort towards greater dialogue, understanding and — importantly — correcting the causes of inequality," Butler said.
Colten Schreiner is a School of Engineering first-year student. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.
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