By Izayah Morgan
As we approach the end of the semester, burnout is normal. And as we get closer to the “end,” social media can become an outlet for many people to distract from the stress.
However, social media use can change our perception on what's acceptable to say and the consequences that follow.
For example, let's dissect X, formally known as Twitter.
AP News in November 2022 reported, “A racial epithet used to attack Black people was found more than 26,000 times, three times the average for 2022.”
The hate didn’t just stop at Black people though - hateful words have seen an increase for many groups of people, which include trans people, homosexuals, Jewish people and Hispanics.
The gut punch for me, though, was the following statistic cited further in the AP News report - within 12 hours of Elon Musk's purchase being finalized, usage of the N-word shot up by 500%.
It's not just hate that got more prevalent, it's also misinformation.
A lot of these social media websites don't care about the truth, but rather get you riled up about something that isn't a big deal.
For example, a social media outlet, Rap TV, posted that a museum is relabeling a Roman emperor as a trans woman.
My question is how is this rap news, or anything to do with hip hop culture?
My concern is that the agenda is being pushed on you without you knowing.
Was this posted to bait a hot topic from people?
To rage bait people into caring about something they wouldn't normally even give a second glance?
To create an echochamber of people to hate an already marginalized community?
Or maybe make people question if it's the LGBTQ+ community changing our history?
As if there were no LGBTQ+ people who existed before us.
There are many claims one could make for why they posted such a thing.
My thought is to distract us from what really happens.
That hate crimes happen, police brutality happens, shootings happen - against people who look like me and people who don’t.
Posts like these distract from what is really happening.
People are dying right now, wars are going on because of misinformation about the other side.
That's how it works, we attack someone who's just trying to exist.
Whether they be Black, brown, LGBTQ+, or just a poor person, we create an enemy so everyone can point the finger to this being the problem in society.
When in reality the problem is propaganda and misinformation we feed ourselves every day, just to feel comfortable.
The conversation of Roman emperor Elagabulus is a long one with much back and forth on both sides. With well intentioned historians and educators adding their perspective on the topic.
My argument is not what the emperor's pronouns should be or if they were trans or not.
Why do these online news sites post such hot button topics with little to no context?
In my opinion it is to rage farm their viewers and push an echochamber of limited perspective on issues.
I want people to have diverse perspectives, that's how innovation and change are formed.
But posts like this do not promote change or interesting discussion.
What I want from you is to question what you read - does it have an agenda, where did it get its sources, is it reliable?
I'm not saying don't consume these media outlets, or engage with these posts.
But I want you to remember one thing if nothing else, often it isn't what the media tells you that's important, but what the media intentionally leaves out.