Think Out Loud: The Emerging Black Digital Intelligentsia | The New Republic

Along with [Ta-Nehisi] Coates, a cohort of what I would like to call the “black digital intelligentsia” has emerged. They wrestle with ideas, stake out political territory, and lead, very much in the same way that my generation did, only without needing, or necessarily wanting, a home in the Ivy League—and by making their name online. They include, to name only a few, Jamelle Bouie at Slate, Nikole Hannah-Jones at The New York Times Magazine, Joy Reid at MSNBC, Jamilah Lemieux at Ebony, and the New Republic’s Jamil Smith. Brilliant, eloquent, deeply learned writers and thinkers, they contend with the issues of the day, online, on television, wherever they can. Academics haven’t disappeared, of course. Their influence, however, isn’t exclusively dependent on validation at the university level. Podcasts, blog posts, social media, and television shows are of vital importance for them. Among this number, I would also include Marc Lamont Hill, James Braxton Peterson, Brittney Cooper, Jelani Cobb, and Melissa Harris-Perry

 Despite all the talk of the digital divide—the very real gulf that separates those with access to technology from the black and brown folk who lack it—the black digital intelligentsia has ingeniously used technology to extend and explore thought and fight injustice. Black folk, and particularly well-educated, elite black folk, have taken more quickly and creatively to technology than their white peers, and turned its myriad functions to our social and professional use. “Black Twitter” may be infamous for scorning white women like Rachel Dolezal who think they are black, but it has also pioneered the idea of hashtag activism, such as #SayHerName, which highlighted the invisibility of black women in discussions of police violence in black communities, or #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, with its allusion to tensions between black and white feminists, to offer but two examples. 

Source: Think Out Loud: The Emerging Black Digital Intelligentsia | The New Republic

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