Things I like…
Digital music. More specifically, Youtube. To me, Youtube has been an exploratory outlet for music. Unfortunately, it’s been known to waste a lot of time (cat videos and laughing babies). But under my semi-strict control this semester, I’ve been able to accomplish a few things with Youtube: listen to John Legend’s most recent album Love In The Future on replay in preparation for his awesome concert this past October; educate myself on Rihanna’s music videos; look up “exorcism” on Google because of Rihanna’s most recent music video; and as a bit of an aside, explore JennaMarbles’ vast amount of knowledge about… stuff. There are so many possibilities! I think that tools like Youtube are very highly efficient cultural educators.
Blogs. Before this semester, I used to think that blogs were a space where clever young adults spewed out their frustrations about life and existential questions. Basically, I was basing this off of the few links that I ran into at some point, posted by lonely, answer-searching teenagers on Facebook. In joining this class, I have discovered so much. I have contributed to this blog. I’ve also started a Tumblr account (something I thought I would never do). And I’m using my blog as a personal archive of photographs mostly pertaining to African American culture.
Things there should be more of…
Comfort with online and offline discussions about race. There have been many attempts at serious, open discussions about race both online and offline. Although we have made so much progress, I don’t think that any attempt has been fully successful; if not, our society wouldn’t still be in its present state. We need to be more open. Small administrative steps will not achieve this. Extremely opinionated blog posts that are open for comments also will not do the trick… example here. I think that people need a different state of mind all together. We can’t make progress if everyone stands by his or her own ground. We will not make progress if everyone tries to have his or her point be heard—too much effort is put towards the wrong goal. We need a fundamental comfort. We must be willing and able to listen to each other.
Unique education. The surrounding community and not a nation’s or the world’s standard should model education, at a higher degree than presently. Of course, for most, basic algebra is necessary in a curriculum. And we actually already have unique education patterns: in history courses, our children learn about figures and events that pertain to their cultural origins (in the US, Christopher Columbus, the American Revolution, etc.). However, we are lacking in some areas. For instance, African American history is very briefly mentioned in many curriculums. I don’t think that this is fair, especially for children who grow up in predominantly Black communities. By developing unique minds, children can bring more to the world as adults. Rich education comes from rich culture, which is something that every community has—we just need to expose it.
Creative online spaces for children. We should have more creative spaces on the internet. Blogging exists, but not everyone is into it; and some find it hard to navigate. We need creative spaces that are easy to use for children. I imagine a tool that is presented like a children’s book. With each new page, a child gets a new idea, and by the end of the book, he or she has reached inspiration. To take this even a step further, it should be structured like Kickstarter without the monetary element. (I’m not even sure how that would work, but it doesn’t hurt to share the idea…) I think that our society is so tied up in all the wonderfully complex tasks that a computer and its network can achieve, that we often overlook simple ideas that are possible.