Victorious.

A victory, no matter how small, is still a victory!

For the thousands of protesters that have traveled to North Dakota, stood on the front lines of this crucial and worthy cause for months–all while braving the harsh winter weather and unconstitutional (sometimes even down-right illegal and in-humane) treatment and outright violence from police, corporate officials, and pipeline construction workers…a small but crucial victory was claimed today! This victory, in the form of a rejection by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — under the command of the current POTUS, President Obama — of a corporate appeal from the oil company behind the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that would allow them to continue construction of the portion of the pipeline that would run beneath Lake Oahe, a large reservoir that outflows into the Missouri River and provides drinking water to thousands of indigenous residents in the area, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

This victory is a testament to the thousands of activists on the ground, and in large part–those at home behind the computer and at the keyboard, near and far. Without social media and the ever-growing spread of information, this victory is likely to have might not have been achieved. It is through social media–and not mainstream media–that the world was given a true picture of what was really happening on the ground in Standing Rock. The injustice and vile human rights violations struck a chord with millions of people, and it was social media that harnessed that resentment to spread and encourage support for the cause and the people. Social media, in this case, was a tool for good. It brought people together and renewed the importance of protecting the earth and its natural resources. In a country plagued with doubt and prejudice and discrimination–especially over the last few months–this cause united people, gave us hope once again in doing good, and in humanity itself. And social media was at the heart of it all.

Whatever might come in the upcoming days and weeks…there’s hope. And as social media continues to show…we won’t go down without a fight. We won’t back down. In unity, good will prevail…

To read more about today’s victory, click HERE !

Image result for #NoDAPL victory

TBTWTG Takes On Instagram.

The Black The White The Grey Blog is now on Instagram! Click the link HERE to explore and follow our page for full access to beautiful and inspirational images, videos, and quotes that  spotlight our (and your) support of the important issues and causes mentioned in this blog and our site, as well as many others!!

Social Media : A World Unto Itself.

The introduction of the internet hasn’t just changed how we communicated with one another, it’s also implemented new ways for us to network and interact, sans the traditional face-to-face. Thanks to the internet, and more specifically Social Media, we not have a plethora of social platforms in which to choose from for our networking, advertising and marketing needs. And more recently, in the past decade, social media has provided a platform for activism. Instead of traveling to assert our constitutional right to peacefully protest the matters and issues that we believe in, we have social media and web sites that allow us to electronically sign and petition lawmakers and individuals in charge or, at the very least, are in a position to enact change. With websites such as Causes.com and Change.org—(there’s even a site to officially petition the White House and the President)—numerous new bills and laws have been successfully put into effect that have contributed to the safety of citizens and the environment, among other things.

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In some cases, justice for victims and families of victims has finally been awarded/found after (sometimes) years-long battles and the financial and legal exhaustion of all other justice-seeking avenues. Thanks to social media, you can protest, lobby, and petition for change—without even having to leave your house. With just a click of a button—literally—you can join a movement, take a stand, speak your piece, and take part in something much bigger than yourself. Sharing your involvement has never been easier than it is now. With just a few clicks—again—you can share and post your thoughts/opinions, share enlightening, educating, and informative articles, and recruit/encourage others to do the same. Sharing links, going “live”, retweeting and reposting—it all gives new meaning to “word of mouth”. News is immediate, it being literally at the tips of our fingers. Social media also serves as virtual clock, calendar, and map, even. You can schedule meetings/debates, find out when and where a particular rally will take place, and even plan a demonstration or protest with others of similar thinking to yours in support of a shared issue/cause. Most social media sites now will automatically send you notifications and/or reminders of events so you don’t forget, as well as connect you with like-minded individuals and/or appropriate, topical content based off of your online activity and terms/topics you’ve browsed for and looked into.

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Social media, in so many ways, has become such a content-rich and wealth/source of information, that most definitely has given new meaning to activism. The options and platforms available are virtually endless. Moreover, change is no longer an idea that is just beyond our reach. It’s real and visceral—and again, both figuratively and literally—right at the end of our fingertips. And now more than ever before…it’s ours for the taking. Change…it’s on us. |JLR|

Change Is Good. (Author’s Note)


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A Little Author’s Note:

So I started this blog as merely a fulfillment to an assignment for a course I’m taking on Social Media–fully intending to shut it down once the course ended and the final grades were in. However, I decided to keep it going, at least for time being.  I realized that the site could serve a two-fold purpose. Aside from the cathartic aspect and it being a great outlet to vent all my frustrations on the issues that are important to me — I  also thought that it might prove helpful in providing people with the information they need to make their own well-informed and educated opinions/decisions.

That said, you can expect to see many changes happening in the upcoming weeks–as I’ve decided to broaden the fundamental/original theme of this blog to include more than just the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The link between social media and activism has greatly expanded in recent years, with more and more people using social media to project their voices and opinions, and to lobby for change. The topics are infinite you’ll find, but some of the most popular and well-known areas of interest include legal and government, political, social, lifestyle, and environment-related reform. This blog will now touch on an array of topics, with personal insights from yours truly, article and information-sharing, with tips and links on how and where to go to get involved and do your part. So welcome! Please feel free to look around, follow, ask questions, share content and ideas, and learn about how you too, can become more socially-active, content-aware and more informed. The world is constantly changing and issues are always evolving. Do your part, get involved today!!  ~JLR~

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The Blurred Lines Of Social Media.

                I have two questions. When it comes to social media, how much is too much, and how far is too far? Social media, for the most part, is a wonderful thing. To think that less than 2 decades ago, networking was restricted to the office or school or by physically picking up a phone, dialing a number, and making a connection…is just a mind-blowing, incredible thought. I’m grateful to social media for making it convenient and so much easier to stay in the know and in touch with friends, family, and acquaintances and for forging connection that I have no doubt would otherwise have fallen to the back-burner in this crazy, chaotic thing that I call a life. Social media is a wonderful tool and resource…until it’s not.

As someone who studied Journalism, I of course, have a great respect for the 1st Amendment and an individual’s right to speak freely. But I draw the line at spewing negativity for the fun of it—and moreover, spewing that negativity on someone else’s profile—and using the 1st Amendment as a backdrop or excuse when called out upon it. What was once such an incredible thing—social media—has in many ways become a cesspool of misinformation, miscommunication, and blatant negativity, in my opinion. For me, it’s all the negativity that makes the thought of deactivating some of my social being profiles and accounts for good and turning elsewhere…all that much more appealing.

social-media-quote

These days, it seems that EVERYONE has an opinion. From #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter, to which candidate is fit to be president…and everything in between. And while I wouldn’t dream of questioning a person’s entitlement of their opinions—however unwarranted or asked for–I do feel that it’s necessary to draw boundaries and if need be—protect your own right to voice your opinions–without fear of reprisal or an unleashing of a verbal throw-down…particularly when it’s expressed or voiced on your own timeline or profile. I’ve defriended, unfollowed, and blocked individuals for that very reason, more times than I care to count. And while it seems like such an unnecessary click of the mouse—especially in this day and age—it seems to be the only thing that works. There’s a sense of freedom that people experience while using social media that makes some feel they do and say whatever they please without recourse or thought for how it might be received—a sort of “you can’t touch me” element or sense that exists simply because the conversation is happening behind the screen of a computer or tablet or phone. And while that’s true—there is that faint disconnect, a cloak of anonymity and invincibility if you will—but does that therein make it right or okay? I believe that’s a question that everyone needs to ask themselves before they click on that post or tweet button. How much is too much? How far is too far? Where do YOU draw the line…or do you??

The Case of Objectivity vs. Black Lives Matter

I came across this interesting video above, which I found incredibly interesting–not for just the content itself–but also for the view in which the content is presented. I think the narrator of the video gives a successfully objective view of both sides of “Black Lives Matter” by making several effective points. There are plenty of videos out there that are biased and ONLY give the perspective from the “Black Lives Matter” movement, so this video Is a little refreshing. Even so, videos like these are damning in that they give a full view of both sides…which doesn’t always shine a positive light on the movement or what it’s supposed to stand for.

As the narrator points out, the movement has changed in so many ways since it was first founded on and began. In some ways good, and in other ways–not so good. The narrator makes several valid points and statements that I, admittedly, am in agreement with. I like how the narrator presents the controversy with the “All Lives Matter” hashtag and movement — choosing instead to NOT take sides on the issue by pointing out the falsehoods and flaws portrayed by both. I read the article that’s shown in the video, the one that purports that anyone who uses the hashtag “All Lives Matter” is unknowingly being an “accidental racist”. It bothered me when I first read it weeks ago, and it still bothers me to this moment. I hate that derogatory term–accidental racist–in that it often makes false assumptions of people’s intentions for using the term. Despite the accusations of many Black Lives Matter supporters, not everyone that uses “All Lives Matter” is trying to “whitewash” or re-write or insult the #BLM movement…some really do use it to simply say that all lives DO matter. The hashtag isn’t intended to be inclusive, it’s just a generalization that supports the assertion that all lives have worth, meaning, and the right to live without prejudice and fear–regardless of their skin color.

I agree with the narrator when it’s pointed out and inferred that for a movement that was enacted out of the desire to avoid violence and bring peace, it sure does incite a lot of violence itself. The narrator isn’t wrong. It’s become increasingly obvious that the ideals of BlackLivesMatter have changed over the past few years.  While I agree that something has to be done about these horrific injustices and that change is needed, I DON’T agree with inciting violence in retaliation to said violence. It only makes the problem that much worse when the situation is bad enough as it is. I’m very much intrigued by the hypocrisy and irony associated with Black Lives Matter, particularly regarding the idea of Anti-Police Brutality. As the narrator points out, assumptions have been made involving Black Lives Matter and the belief that only black individuals can be victims of police brutality. I disagree. Black lives may be targeted more, but there’s also evidence that shows plenty of white individuals on the receiving end of police brutality as well. It’s not contained to race–but that’s the perspective we’ve been given by the media, unfortunately. It’s propaganda and it’s misleading…and it’s dangerous. The police have been slapped with a generalization that they are all corrupt, murdering racists and that’s unfair. Black Lives Matter has essentially pointed the blame and put a price tag on the lives of ALL police officers everywhere when the majority are true public servants trying–at the risk of their own lives–to keep the peace, to protect, and to serve. To accuse otherwise is to do to the police exactly what is being done to black lives…and that serves neither side any good. The old adage “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” that serves this issue quite well, I think. Protests calling for the death of all cops completely undermine the originating ideals of the movement. The fight is for racial equality and peace, and NOT a call for more bloodshed. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to be for. More often than not, that hasn’t been the case.

I support the movement and the OLD ideals it held and stood for, but have my misgivings about the movement that it is now. I’m not denying that there’s a real race problem in this country, that it’s only getting worse, and that it NEEDS to be changed–that of course, I’m well aware of. I just don’t believe that harboring and spreading more hate and/or violence around is a productive use of Black Lives Matter’s time. All it does is widen the wedge between black lives and white which–the wider that wedge gets–the further back society is sent–undoing all the progress that’s been made since those awful days of racism, segregation, and civil rights violations. Black or white–that helps no one. No one whatsoever.

-BWG-

Letters For Black Lives…

There’s a website/resource I stumbled across several months back aptly titled “Letters for Black Lives” that I found to be not only interesting, but also quite useful, and so I thought I’d share it here as well.

You can access the site by clicking HERE!

You’re welcome to visit the site yourself (and I highly encourage you to do so!) and form your own opinion on its usefulness and/or the quality of its resources and posted material, but I thought I’d point out some sections that I found particularly useful during my visits to the site.


  • THE DIVERSITY!!

As you’ll soon discover when you visit the site, it’s essentially a virtual discussion form where anyone of all races, beliefs, religions, and creeds can share their thoughts and concerns regarding #BlackLivesMatter, without fear of reprisal or animosity. Unlike many social media platforms where harsh backlash is sometimes prevalent in the form of opposing commenters and followers, Letters for Black Lives is a virtual safe place for individuals to post their thoughts—controversial or not—start a discussion, or ask questions without being attacked, intimidated into deleting your post, or forced to defend your words. While the site has many great qualities, the best (in my opinion) part is that the site encourages and promotes diversity. It does this by publishing it’s originating letter concerning racial inequities for people of color in communities around the world in various spoken languages—thereby including and appealing to everyone!

Some of the languages/translations available include (AUDIO/VIDEO recordings are available too!)

      • ENGLISH
      • SPANISH
      • FRENCH
      • PORTUGUESE
      • CANTONISE
      • MANDARIN
      • JAPANESE
        • And more…

There are even audio/video recordings of letters & posts in AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE for those with hearing impairments! 


  • TALK ABOUT ANYTHING & EVERYTHING!!

Another great aspect about the site is that it’s completely up to you what you want to/don’t want to post. Though the main idea is #BlackLivesMatter and the ideals that the movement stands for and tries to uphold, there is literally no restrictions on what you can talk or write about. Some #BlackLivesMatter topics that others have posted about and/or are discussing on the site include (but certainly are not limited to):

  • Police Violence
  • #BlackLivesMatter Activism
  • Community Gatherings and Local #BLM Events
  • Personal Experiences With Prejudice or Racial Bias

**The potential topics/subjects to write about and/or discuss on Letters for Black Lives are virtually endless!!**


So, if the #BlackLivesMatter movement is something you’re deeply interested in or you just need a safe place to vent without a litany of commentators or “friends” tearing apart and analyzing every word or opinion you voice or type, be sure to visit Letters for Black Lives!!


LETTERS FOR BLACK LIVES on SOCIAL MEDIA (LINKS PROVIDED):

Click HERE to follow/join Letters for Black Lives: Community on Facebook!!

Click HERE to follow Letters for Black Lives on Twitter!!

First & Best Intentions…

–We live in the era of YouTube and Facebook and Livestream platforms, so enclosed in a virtual and digital world that is literally at the touch of our fingertips. Forget conversation, there’s text messaging and emoticons now in place of actual words and feelings. Landlines are essentially extinct…ask a kid these days what one is (a landline) and they’ll likely look at you like you’ve gone crazy. But ask them to show you their phone and they’ll pull out the latest generation iPhone. Ask them a few months from then and chances are, they’ll have upgraded to the newest generation with only a few new features added than what was on the previous generation…just miniscule upgrades that certainly aren’t worth the $700-ish price tag that comes with it. When it comes right down to it, it’s all about perception: the way we view ourselves, and more so, the way we’re perceived by others.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, our lives essentially revolve around Social Media—in so many ways. There’s the selfies and who has the best Instagram photos. There’s Twitter and the ridiculously addicting insanity, otherwise known as tweeting. The fact that we’re able to sum up all of our feelings or intent or activity in a mere 140 characters, never ceases to amaze me. And we can’t forget the hashtags. Oh, the hashtags.
And then there’s the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It’s literally impossible to use social media and not be bombarded with some Buzz feed or Huffington Post article, or a news clip or soundbite of a 911 recording, or even just a status update about it…especially these days. It really wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that I decided to get involved with the movement. The way it was then, with principles and what the movement truly stood for—is a far cry from what it is now. While I know it’s a good thing that the numbers of supporters have essentially skyrocketed since then—and in just a short time—I can’t help but feel like it’s turned into something else, something worse. There are people, like myself, that truly believe in what #BlackLivesMatter stands for and are actively trying to raise awareness and to bring about change. And then there are false prophets—individuals that are using the movement to justify crimes and riots and even murder. People who have no interest in fighting and protesting the cause using non-violent methods. People who are out for blood. Literally. Social media, in my opinion, has been used as a platform and backdrop for violence and vengeance on far more occasions than I wish to count. People are taking what the news and the media online as gospel, and blindly taking information as fact without bothering to check sources or finding evidence to support what they’re acting on. The media and the sensationalized “journalism” they produce and put out there on social media for millions of people to see and read—isn’t helping matters any. If anything, it’s only fueling the unrest and the rage. The truth has lost its value, it seems. No one cares that they’re being spoon-fed stories and half-truths. No one cares that the movement seems to have forgotten why it was begun in the first place.
Personally, it’s one of the reasons why I’ve drastically cut-back on how much time I spend on Social Media. I simply can’t deal with the horrible stories and videos and the pointing of fingers and casting blame. It’s the arguing though that really turns me off. That, and people jumping to conclusions or making assumptions based on absolutely nothing. When I look at people, I don’t see them as the sum of just their skin color. People are so much more than a color—a color, might I remind them, that was not of their choosing. That so many people have such a narrow-minded view of people is just unfortunate. Worse, every time I go on my social media lately, it seems like—that is, in a figurative sense–more and more people are segregating themselves into two groups: you’re either black or white. There’s no middle ground. You either support #BlackLivesMatter, or you don’t. And let’s not even mention the whole #AllLivesMatter argument. I’ve gotten in far too many heated discussions and virtual screaming matches over that whole matter, that it’s not even funny. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in my circle who sees the ridiculousness in fighting over a hashtag. In fact, I think if I see one more HuffPost article on how if you’re white and you use the #AllLivesMatter hashtag, you’re basically offending the whole movement–one article even threw out the term “Accidental Racist”. And all because of a hashtag–four crisscrossing little lines that meant nothing until the imaginative minds behind Twitter swooped in and turned it into a global phenomenon. That said, to take such offense to something so superficial to the point where you’re throwing back accusations and making assumptions and judgments of others’ views, and questioning the validity of a person’s support, intentions, or their ability to empathize with the rampant injustices occurring on what is nearly getting to be a daily basis in this country.
I guess my point in choosing the relationship between Social Media and The BlackLivesMatter movement–and more specifically, the effect that each has on the other—is to address what has become a very personal matter to me—and that should be important to everyone. There’s so much misinformation out there—only adding to the already heightened tensions–that you literally have to watch everything you say or type. And that’s still no guarantee that your words will be safe from some virtual attack by someone that is just waiting and at-the-ready to pick the same old fight that you’ve already had half a dozen times already, with half a dozen different people.
While I’m only one voice, I’d still like to do what I can to right the wrongs and raise awareness, and I’m hopeful that this blog might help to do that, even in just a small manner. With research and a great deal of analysis and introspection, I hope to share as much knowledge and facts about the movement as I can. By demonstrating both the good and bad effects that Social Media and the Movement have had on one another, hopefully I can (through this blog) even the playing field a little bit, so to speak. At least, that’s the hope.– JR