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November 26, 2014 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-26

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6B Wednesday November 26, 2014/ The Statement
ACTIVISM
From Page 5B

W-

i w

make sure that there was a communal agree-
ment about what those things would be,"
Greenfield said.
This represents the difficult conflation in
activism between online success and actual
change, an issue activists from all move-
aThents continually face.
Eljamal believes it was critical that the
BDS movement had tangible events and
presence outside of social media. While
they posted photos and updates alongside
hashtags on social media sites, especially
during the silent CSG meetings and their sit-
in, SAFE placed a strong emphasis on incit-
ing students to actually participate in these
events rather than just liking a post online.
"We know you read it - great. We know
you watched it - great," Eljamal said. "What
are you goingto do about it now?Go to events,
ANmake sure your thoughts and actions reflect
what you are learning on social media."
Despite these movements' efforts to con-
nect the intangible with the tangible, it's still
easy for people to hide behind their comput-
er screens; given the "trendiness" of activism
on college campuses, especially liberal ones
like the University, there is a certain social
cache in proving your social justice back-
ground online.
"It's always been trendy to be a social
justice person at college," Desai said. "The
people who do decide to join (social justice)
because it is trendy, it's problematic for them
"co do it for that reason alone, because they
aren't taking the steps necessary to work
through their own privilege and their own
identities, and starting to engage in a way
that is respectful of other people's experi-
ences."
This "keyboard courage" can also have
a darker, more subversive side. Internet
"trolls," or people who use social media to
limit or abuse communities and identities,
are an unfortunate side effect of the advent
of social media. These aggressors can hide
behind screen names, granting them nearly
untouchable privacy and power.
One on-campus example occurred dur-
ing the BDS campaign. A Facebook picture
of Former SAFE member Yazan Kherallah,
now a University alum, featured him holding
a pineapple and a knife. The photo was picked
up by a Washington Free Beacon staffer who
wrote a vitriolic, hyperbolic piece, attacking
Kherallah as an individual and the Islamic
community as a whole.
Despite the negative emotional and struc-
tural consequences these "trolls" can have,
Hardy doesn't necessarily believe that the
access they or even conservative outlets have
'W' o social networks is completely negative.
"Those horrible people are going to be out
there either way, and I think it's really impor-
tant that both views are presented," Hardy
said with a laugh. "Not because of freedom
or whatever, but just so people can see what a
fucking joke a lot of that other stuff is."
This "other stuff" can also refer to a recent
Fox news clip that came out in response to

a video showing the prevalence of street
harassment in New York City, which gar-
nered over 36 million YouTube views. In
the Fox news clip, commentators belittled
the actions of those fighting against street
harassment - one commentator even objec-
tified the woman in the original video, say-
ing "Damn, baby, you're a piece of woman."
Media clips such as this are a fitting remind-
er for activists that the "other side" has

cisco's subway system, shutdown cell phone
service in order to curtail involvement in a
possible protest.
While aggressive actions such as this have
yet to be taken against protests at the Uni-
versity, it shows the delicate balance activ-
ists face between utilizing social media and
having it be used against them.
Moreover, in the flurry of discussion sur-
rounding technology and how it's rapidly

"The ubiquity of smart phones, especially
smart phones that come free with a phone
plan, is changing the game in a lot of ways,"
Hardy said. "But I still think there is a digi-
tal divide, and there is a lot of work being
done right now to increase literacy in under-
served populations and to try to ramp up
access."
This once again reinforces for activists
how imperative physical impact is in a move-
ment - not only does it demonstrate a truly
dedicated base, it allows oppressed popula-
tions to be reached out to through multiple
avenues.
An evolving campus, an uncertain future
Walking across the Diag on a Tuesday in
November, campus seems busy. Students
scuttle to class, wrapped in parkas and over-
sized scarfs. A tent to one side promotes
Blood Battle and a large group of students
stand over the block 'M,' encouraging those
who pass to join the student organization
optiMize. Written on one wall of the Hatch-
er Graduate Library is the phrase "Save the
Lost 43," a reference to the tragic abduction
of 43 college students in Mexico. Spray-paint
on the Diag reads "EXPEL RAPISTS" and
"ADMINS DEFEND RAPISTS."
University students are not, and probably
will never be, complacent when it comes to
issues of social justice. A quick survey of the
physical center of our campus is evidence
of that. However, as social media continues
to expand and change the course of soci-
ety, activism changes along with it. Despite
the setbacks that come with a less physi-
cally engaged community base, both Hardy
and Greenfield believe that social media is
ultimately beneficial for furthering social
change.
"Someone is always going to capitalize on
it," Greenfield said. "You are always going to
have something that's trendy, but I have faith
that that wouldn't overcome good inten-
tions."
"I feel like the amount of people being
reached by social media is exponentially
larger than the amount of people that you
can meet door-knocking in a neighborhood
about a certain issue," Hardy said.
Ultimately, Campbell argues that the indi-
vidual will always be the most critical part of
successful activism.
"I think when we are trying to explain
and understand activism today and how it's
changed, we need to be careful not to over-
look the social component of this, because
the technology by itself doesn't do anything
at all," Campbell said.
"It's highly dependent on individual users,
and what they bring to the table in terms of
their motivations and their skills and their
desire to maximize the capabilities of the
technology - to make them better informed
citizens, to make them more effective activ-
ists, and without that, the technology on its
own isn't going to do anything."

famous by association:
this isn't about beyonce
BY MARIAM SHEIKH

THE THOUGHT BUBBLE

Daily

As you have probably guessed,
this column isn't about Beyon-
4. Hol'ever, it is about her
newly married sister, Solange. She's
infamous (to me anyway) for her role
in "Johnson's Family Vacation" (an
underrated classic), and infamous to
the world for her elevator brawl with
Jay Z. Sol-
ange has
never fully
existed
outside of
her sister's
omnipres-
ent shad-
ow.
How-
ever, on
Nov. 17,
coming
out of
nowhere
for the I LLUST RAT IO N 1B

to seeing. A wedding event that is
low key and more intimate is start-
ing to make a comeback. Now, forget
about the anomalies. Kim Kardashi-
an's outrageous (third) wedding
that sprawled nearly all of Europe,
George Clooney's "gobigorgohome"
mentality with (my girl crush) Amal,
the $34 million
Royal Wed-
ding (seriously,
$34 million on
a wedding and
Prince William
is stillbalding?).
Whether you
chalk it up to
saving money,
people getting
married at an
older age, the
economy, Ebola,
whatever, I am
KARA ARGUE fully supportive
of this trend. There is less pressure
on the bride to be perfect and less
pressure on the groom to do any
legitimate work. I mean, you've seen
the great "Sex and the City" wed-
ding walkout; the "Friends" episode
wedding panic that Chandler had to
endure. Poor Lady Edith was left at
the altar by a man twice her age in
"Downton Abbey." Kim Kardashi-
an's (second) wedding was insane
and her marriage to Kris Humphries
lasted a cool 72 days.
Small weddings are back, Sol isthe
new queen and just remember, it is
the Tumblrs of teenage girls around
the globe that dictate the world.

YI

masses of people who don't quite
have Solange on their radar, she mar-
ried her longtime love Alan Ferguson.
And she looked #flawless. Simply
choosing to ignore the old-school
tradition of the bride only wear-
ing white, Solange's entire wedding
party donned the color. However,
"I'm specializing in archives and records management. I want to be an archivist. not even Bey could take away the
Archives are relevant to every single person. There is some way that their lives connect spotlight from Sol. Dressed in a fully
to records and the past. Without the past, we don't really have context for our current caped gown from Humberto Leon
situation in the present." by Kenzo, paired with gold cuffs, she
looked nothing short of regal and
-SHAE RAFFERTY, INFORMATION GRADUATE STUDENT high fashion.
Her nuptials reflect a trend in
weddings as of late, a reinvention of
the big, chaotic types we are used

RPRINTS: FIVE

access too; this means detractors and trolls,
but also institutions of power.
"The thing that is the other side of this
coin, is that technology is used to empower
the establishments to, in some cases, squelch
protests," Campbell said. "Although I don't
think that's what we are seeing here on this
campus."
Examples of this range from governmen-
tal social media shutdowns within the Arab
Spring movement, to closer-to-home acts of
institutional interference. Campbell recalls a
recent event in which the BART, San Fran-

altering most aspects of life, it can be easy to
forget that access to technology is not uni-
versal. This holds true for online activism,
as often groups that are marginalized - and
most in need of social advocacy - don't have
access to emerging media, like smart phones
or Twitter.
"It's hard because when you do some-
thing around technology, you make a lot of
assumptions, and the first is that people are'
economically able to afford to use the tech-
nology that you are associating that activism
with," Greenfield said.

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