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Tweeting for Racial Justice: Millennials Take to Organizing Online

By Muna Mire


Stereotypes of millennials are being turned on their head as racial justice conversations are now taking place in a new arena: Twitter. The Internet has recently provided young activists of colour a platform from which to amplify conversations around appropriation, accountability, and allyship. 

{Young}ist contributor Suey Park is one such online activist, and has started the ironic hashtag #POC4culturalenrichment in order to facilitate a dialogue around harmful constructions of white allyship and the unequal sharing of knowledge and resources between whites and POC in the academy and elsewhere. Park’s hashtag - which went viral - is just one in a string of conversations that networks of women of colour like herself, and Black women in particular, have cultivated on social media. 

In her own organizing work, Park has been told that she focuses too much on a message of critique instead of educating and supporting allies. She disagrees with this analysis, noting that it is problematic to center the needs of white allies in racial justice organizing. It’s not about them.

“The problem with this conceptualization of allyship is that the person of color has to give up survival goals […] to shift into educating white allies. This limits allyship to being based around self-improvement of white people, rather than actually supporting a radically transformative agenda.”  

Park created the hashtag in part to counter these ideas and to speak out against the appropriation of the struggles of POC by self-proclaimed allies in organizing circles and in higher education. 

“In higher education, people of color are used as tokens and educators for the cultural enrichment of their white peers. Researchers have shown that white students benefit more from people of color being in their courses than those students themselves,” said Park.  

In using Twitter to speak back to racialized power dynamics, in school and elsewhere, Park and others are making social media work for them where they would not have a voice otherwise. 

“Twitter allows us to capture racism and other-isms in 140 characters or less […] it is a great medium for people like me who otherwise have to fight to be heard. Like #solidarityisforwhitewomen, #POC4culturalenrichment points out the limited capacity in which people of color have a voice. We are used as diversity sprinkles and unique perspectives to add to an otherwise whitewashed agenda.” 

“In a supposedly post-[racial] world, it becomes increasingly [important] to hold people, especially educators in positions of power, accountable for their words and underlying biases,” she said. 

{Young}ist has aggregated the best of the conversation for you:

Follow Muna on Twitter @Muna_Mire.

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Muna Mire

Organizer, Writer, Black girl from the future.

Catch up with me @Muna_Mire.

online organizing


racial justice


September 09, 2013

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