Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
Boycott Twitter? It's a no from me, dawg: Mochama
This hastily-assembled protest with unclear goals did not factor in the weight and heft of Twitter as a community space or as a breathing room for racialized communities.
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On Friday, men and women logged out of their Twitter accounts to protest. I did not. I had a show to promote, plans to co-ordinate and conversations to have; I could not have done all that combined anywhere else.
The protest was formed in response to the company’s brief suspension of Rose McGowan’s Twitter account. McGowan, an actor, spoke up last week to allege that Harvey Weinstein had raped her in a hotel in 1997; in the days since the accusations, she has vocally tweeted about her experience and Hollywood’s failure.
For her fierce and ardent voice to be quelled at a time when she was critical of Hollywood’s powerful seemed to be one more attack on women. In a week when Weinstein’s accusers were finally being publicly heard and believed, the silencing of even one could not be borne.
Late on Thursday, a few women began sharing that they would be leaving the platform for the day. #WomenBoycottTwitter picked up steam quickly as celebrities, women and men alike, joined to show their power by their absence.
No protest is perfect, but this one struck me as half-formed. Like many other woman-led protests, it was reminiscent of a particular brand of white feminism that consistently fails to respond to the issues of women of colour or dismisses the criticisms thereof.
Twitter is a space where Black people come together. Black Twitter is a phenomenon: As a community, Black Twitter users are a political, economic and cultural force.
It is also a place where we engage in conversations about the very contours of Blackness. Our online diaspora dialogues allow Black people from anywhere to shape what it means to be Black.
If FKA Twigs wants to say dark-skinned Black people have discriminated against her, you know Black Twitter is going to have a conversation about colourism. If the Free Goods Show, a Toronto-based podcast, asks for unpopular music opinions, Black Twitter will be beefing over Anita Baker vs. Sade.
For me, those moments and so many others (Formation release weekend? Whew!) give me a connection with other Black people, especially for those times when the world around me is overwhelmingly white.
This hastily assembled protest with unclear goals did not factor in the weight and heft of Twitter as a community space or as a breathing room for racialized communities. Instead, it reflected a longstanding history of oppression becoming important only after it affects white women.
Neither the harassment of Leslie Jones nor the Trump administration’s attacks on Jemele Hill received a similar outcry.
Essential voices could have, if given the time and opportunity, added nuance to the message that women wanted to send.
So rather than silencing ourselves, I, and other women of colour, stayed online and said, “It’s a no from me, dawg.”