How does Obama tie social media, racism, and the democracy together?

February 27, 2017
Stephanie Nam  Los Alamitos High School 10th Grade

Stephanie Nam
Los Alamitos High School
10th Grade

“We become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.”

In former President Obama’s farewell address, he mentions that the wide usage of social media has prevented people from accepting the foundation of each other’s beliefs. Although one may believe that social media helps to inform about current global events, that is not true. You will only see what you like and what a majority of people like. Because people are quick to assert their opinion, many are led to accept that opinion as the only right reaction. Furthermore, with the constant cycle of feeds based on one’s preferred genre, social media platforms isolate and do not provide the chance to explore the possibilities of other perspectives. As asserted by Obama, this isolation is one of the main causes for raw and bold prejudice as well as stratification in the population and in the economy.

So how does this connect with equality?

As a result of confinement to one’s own preferences, classification between racial groups becomes inevitable. The Public Religion Research Institute has shown that 75% of white Americans have confined their peer circle to only whites (BBC). Racism still remains as a major issue in society with social media being one of its most significant contributors. Even though the first African-American president has a 60% approval rating after running two consecutive terms, racial relations are still filled with tension and antagonism (CNN).

Racism is one of the main threats to America’s democracy. Obama stresses that “politics is a battle of ideas…without a willingness to…concede that your opponent is making a fair point…we’ll keep talking past each other.” Compromise is the key to maintaining stable structure while representing all of the people’s views. The protection of our government follows the citizens’ openness to accept at least the basis of other ideas. In order to stimulate further change in America’s social divide, Obama made racism one of the main themes in his farewell address. As the past president has urged, stop social media from becoming an obstacle, and open up to different social groups and their ideas.



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    June 28, 2017 at 6:41 AM

    We are a divided country. Usually this is expressed through radically different ideas about what policies should be priorities of our government. But this is not a usual year. Trump made it personal by engaging in hateful language against Muslims & minorities & women & generally anyone he disagrees with, and gave his followers the space to do even more. And please don’t equate Hillary’s use the word ‘deplorable’ to Donald’s relentless hate speech. In any civilized context, hate speech is deplorable.

    The ugliness that has always been just below the surface in our society is now somehow seen as acceptable. People open carry firearms into restaurants, retail stores, parks – and this is not called intimidation, but their right. That cousin who regularly uses the n-word, now thinks this is their God given right to subject you to their racism without any expression of disapproval. My Jewish wife reads articles with comments from ‘oven builder’ saying Hitler had the right idea. My gay daughter is now harassed when she uses a public restroom (maybe she always was, but now it’s so common that I know about it).

    Many Trump supporters don’t have a racist bone in their body and they voted for change, or the supreme court, or because they just couldn’t face another Clinton administration. But surely you see the haters standing with you. They are standing tall and proud in plain sight.
    And please, don’t take my word for it – go visit any white supremacist website and see the celebration and vitriol for yourself.
    So yes, some black & brown kids are afraid, and I’m sure some white Christian ones are too – they just don’t have to hear people chanting ‘build the wall’ at them. So own your vote and all that it represents and please don’t lecture a public school superintendent trying to reassure his minority population. It just sounds petty and hollow.

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