Tag Archives: facebook

What Are We Talking About? Jordan Davis…Or The Snowfall?

22 Feb

I’m certain there are droves of white people who were both saddened and outraged over the Michael Dunn mistrial verdict which fell short of convicting Dunn of murder charges for the shooting death of teenager, Jordan Davis.  Yet this past week, their presence on social media told a different story.

As you know, Dunn was the white man who fired shots into the SUV Jordan and his friends, all black teenage boys, were sitting in at a, (surprise!), Florida gas station.  There had been a brief dispute amongst the teens and Dunn, who felt their music was playing too loudly.  Jordan Davis, 17, died from the gunshot wounds inflicted by Dunn.

I always notice who is talking about what when it comes to race.  After the Dunn verdict, on Facebook and on twitter, I saw that many people of color were paying tribute to Jordan, and expressing their outrage over the verdict, and the very fact that the lives of young black men don’t seem to matter in this country.  Some white people were doing that too, but not nearly as many.

The next morning, a friend of mine on Facebook (and in real life:), poet Christopher Johnson, who is known for not mincing words, spoke out on his own “noticing.”  He noticed that black people were posting about Jordan and Dunn, but white folks were posting about the snowfall.  Christopher who recently shared a powerful poem on Facebook about his fear as a black man of being taken by violence while simply walking down the street, and not being able to watch his daughter grow up, wondered if we even cared at all.

On twitter, since I am following many people of color who are interested in the topic of race, (see I Was On Black Twitter And U.O.E.N.O.) the divide was even sharper.  People of color were tweeting about Jordan Davis and Dunn, and damning the Stand Your Ground law, and white people were tweeting about a favorite book or the Olympics.

What does this say about us?  About white people?  Does it show we don’t care? Or is it we don’t express our feelings about trial outcomes on social media?  Are we afraid to broach it because we are worried about racial tension? Or do we feel a posting on facebook doesn’t do any good?  Another friend on FB, a man of color, posted after the verdict a warning about..”all the “psuedo cyber-activists”…who would now share their outrage here on the page, but seemingly questioned how that would effect change.

I myself responded to Christopher’s post, saying that I clearly noticed what he noticed–the racial divide between posting about the Dunn verdict vs. how many inches of snow we got. I stated I didn’t consider myself political or an activist, even though with my blog Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake, I suppose I am becoming somewhat of an activist, or at least advocate for awareness on race relations, racism and privilege.

I went on to say though that this was a matter of humanity and that for me personally, when I post something on Facebook, and I have, about Trayvon Martin,  Troy Davis, and Jordan Davis, I hedge on getting too vocal, because I feel at the same time, well, I’m not doing anything out in the community–I haven’t attended a march, or I haven’t written a letter to the proper politicians to get rid of the Stand Your Ground law.  And, so I don’t want my words to be hollow.  But, yes, I hope with all my heart that white people acknowledge the fact that yet another young black man has lost his life for no reason at all, and his murderer has not been brought to justice.  I hope that we  pay tribute.  That we care.   That we talk about it.  That we want to work to break down the systems of racism and racial injustice that were not afforded to Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, and Jonathan Ferrell, and their families.  I know I need to do more on that end.

At this point in my post, I took a break and went out to breakfast with my friend Karina Wood, and our daughters–a good wrap up to school vacation week.  I’ve always admired Karina for her willingness to be vocal and speak up on matters on education and politics, and to call out our local politicians and school officials via social media and town meetings, and ask for clarity, transparency and change when things don’t seem right to her.

Midway through breakfast Karina exclaimed, “I was so astounded, and think it’s so awful about that guy not getting convicted for that shooting in Florida.”

And, it’s not like I said to myself, Yay! aha, see, here is a white person talking about Jordan Davis and Michael Dunn.  It is important to us, but I did seize upon the moment to open up the discussion.  I asked Karina if she had seen Christopher’s post on Facebook.  She had.  This is how I remember our conversation.

“I saw that, and I did feel bad. I felt like he was speaking to me.  I was one of those people talking about the snow,”  she began. “But, usually I keep up with the news every day, but I hadn’t this past week, and so after his post, I looked it up, and was angry about the outcome.”

“Did you feel guilty about what Christopher said?” I asked.  And then I shared with her my take about some people not wanting to post things that are political, or think or talk about these events on social media.

“I did at first,” Karina replied.  “I often do post about things I believe in and want to support, and I missed this one (on the day of the verdict)…I was thinking how black people must be feeling–that they’re NOT surprised by this.  That you want to be surprised that something like this unbelievable verdict happened, but the fact that it keeps happening, you’re not surprised anymore.”

She added, “I think we do need to say something, do need to show that we care and it matters.”

I appreciated the conversion with Karina, and her suggestions to me to write letters to the editors of local newspapers, and politicians denouncing the verdict and the Stand Your Ground law, when I spoke about not knowing how to take action.

Maybe the space in which you speak up is not on social media.  And that is fine.  But, I hope we are all paying attention. I hope that we all care.  And, I hope that, as a nation of diverse people, none of us remain silent.  As Dr. King once urged us all, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”


SOURCE:   www.goodreads.com Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World


What’s In A Blog Tagline, Part Two: The Follow-up

17 Jan

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read my prior post questioning whether my blog’s tagline conveyed what WJSS is all about.  The post also spoke of my decision to change part of the tagline after I received feedback that made me uncomfortable with the original version.  I was able to see how my words… “humorous obsession with race..” could be taken as offensive by people of color who don’t have the luxury of not having to worry about the implications of race on a day-to-day basis.

I truly appreciated all of your thoughtful comments here on the blog, and wanted to share some of the dialogue that came through on twitter, and my facebook page:

from Christopher Johnson, an amazing poet, spoken word-artist, and friend:

I get it now. I still think what you tagline presently reads is a soft opening, and everyone does not have to come from such an affirmative angle. You you change it to a specific like Black White relations, that may hit too hard for someone who may just be curious. You won’t be able to please everyone, so as long as you speak your truth for this moment, which is subject to change later, but for this moment, then you achieve what you need for this moment. You will attract who needs to hear your message. My opinion. Some people need baby steps.


from my fellow Waterburian friend, the lady of one love, Kelly Quinn

I believe that I read the comments regarding the current tag line. Wasn’t the woman suggesting that the word “race” encompasses more than black/white relations?   I like the word “curious.”  I agree with Christopher though– if you try to please everyone, you will have a different tag line every week!  My best advice is to say exactly what it is….and leave it at that.


From friend, Daniel Kamil, owner of the wonderful Cable Car Cinema and Cafe:

one woman’s travels into white privilege.


from my friend on fb and beyond, Karen Oldham-Kidd

Great article, Wendy. And, I don’t find your tagline offensive. I “get” It. With that said, I believe that ONLY you can decide what your tagline should be!

from my friend, Diana Fox, mentioned in the prior WJSS tagline post:

 I like the change, and obviously Karen’s right–it should be your own decision (and thx for sharing our convo in here btw–so nice to know you think so deeply about your friends’ views!). Your blog certainly inspires convos btwn Jomo and me! Here’s just food for thought but likely too academic–help I can’t escape!

One woman’s reflections on the dynamic constructions of race.


from friend, Kristin Charpentier, childcare educator extraordinaire (taught my Darla in pre-school)

your honesty and willingness to listen and reflect, to learn and change is admirable and inspirational, wendy. as always, another great article to give us all something to chew on.


from Rhody craftswoman & craft show-producer, Kim Turner Clark:

I agree that curious is far superior to humorous. Sadly, I have no pithy suggestions but I wanted to say how much I admire your willingness to reflect and reevaluate.


From my dear Tulsa friend, Cindy Reeves:

I really enjoyed your blog. I rarely take the time to read blogs and glad I did. I know what sincerity and empathy comes from your drive.


And here’s a few from twitter:


From @ravenngethers

This entry truly reflects why I enjoy reading your blog!  Very thought-provoking commentary.  Especially the part about the discussion regarding intent and perception.  Your willingness to take feedback & criticism is genuine.  I think that I agree with a few others who voted for the tag line ending with “in black and white.”  Best wishes in your blogging!

(okay, so that was sent in 3 consecutive tweets since it was over 140 characters:)


From @astephigher

I vote for “one white woman’s curious obsession with relationships in black and white.”  As always, I enjoy your posts.


From @jnotha

I was thinking of why you might have thought of your journey as “humorous.”  To the beneficiaries of privilege, challenging those privileges and the basis of them can be seen as a funny/dangerous thing.



You’re one step closer to membership.  I love your blog.


So, what did I decide after reading through all of your feedback?

I decided to sit tight and not make any further changes just yet.  All of your dialogue made me realize that keeping the tagline broad is fine, and will allow readers to enter the blog and see for themselves what it’s all about, and decide for themselves their take on it.  I am grateful that all of you have taken the time to read through the blog, and have in essence, put your trust in me.  I so love having you along for the ride during my search for my own truth, and for being the many voices I share my every day experiences on matters of race relations with, here on WJSS.

Thank you.


Wendy Jane’s Facebook Poems Cross Colorlines Daily

30 May

By now, most of you know about my Facebook poems, the daily poems I create from my friends’ status updates.  Well, it’s crossed my mind, more than once, that these poems are a melding of many voices:  black, white, Latino, Cape Verdean, Asian, and more.  How often do we get to hear voices come together in one piece of work, other than in song?

Here are three recent poems that bring a diversity of voices together […]