“The veil has been lifted,” my friend said to me recently during a discussion of current events and the role social media has played in what we see and how we see it. It’s not that the world is full of more violence, we agreed, it’s just that so many more of us have access to devices to record and platforms to share with the world.
In many ways, the new technology and the ability to document and share information has “lifted the veil” on the injustice that segments of our society have been complaining about for generations and our newspapers have been reporting on for over a century, at least in the Black community. It’s not that the police are destroying more innocent Black lives than in the past, it’s just that now those incidents are being caught on cellphone cameras and broadcast instantly on social media for everyone to see. And now that the veil has been lifted, we cannot return to the ignorance of indifference or blindness from the truth.
My friend reminded me, however, that it is easy to misread the proliferation of information and images and claim that things are getting worse. That we are under siege. That evil forces are in control and taking over the world. That all our borders have been irreparably breeched and need to be walled and secured. It’s not that this is the first time there have been mass killings, it’s just that there were no cellphones on the streets of Rwanda or Facebook in neighborhoods of Bosnia.
Fueled by fear, this misreading has been exploited by some opportunists, subsequently leading to sweeping political changes in Britain and dramatically influencing the political landscape in America. Fear mongering, we must remember, is not the revolution of ideas upon which this democracy was founded. Now more than ever, we must all see ourselves as “citizens of the world”. We must see that there really is more good in the world than bad. And we must believe that while the world and the country are good, we will have even better days ahead.