The Digital Social Media; Failure to Care video intrigued me because I am also interested in preserving blackness and black culture while confronting archival digitization for future generations. Particularly for marginalized people, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are proving to be a challenge.
Digital Archiving has proven to be a complicated nonlinear process that has many inter-tangled issues that drastically effect preservation dynamics for people of color and other marginalized communities.
Bergis Jules and his panel all make key points concerning the future of protecting, accessing and controlling the process of archival reporting and documenting Black culture. One particular statement that made me more curious about protecting the records of black contributors was how individuals have a right to not be included. Black people’s language and cultural traditions both spoken and unspoken, is often overlooked within the colonial background of exclusion and erasure from the historical record. People of color who are activist, artist and controversial figures are often targeted and eradicated.
One example the panel used was the murder of Korin Gaines, who recorded her illegal home invasion by police on Facebook. She was shot and killed in front of her child. Facebook allowed police to sensor and remove her record of proof of what was occurring in that moment. Another case the panel mentioned was Philando Castille who was murdered by police while in his vehicle with his child and girlfriend present. His girlfriend used Facebook live as proof and protection of the ‘record’- that her boyfriend was not a criminal or was never guilty of any crime. She also used this record to describe context as the incident unfolded, only to be silenced later.
Stories such as these occur often among black and brown communities and are what make it obvious that black culture must take on the task to set their own records straight. Black culture and it’s “failure of care” for itself is very concerning and alarming. Though there are efforts to correct and address the concerns of exclusion, there is no sense of urgency. I agree that marginalized communities and their erased or silenced histories must be revisited and recreated for the digital age. The work to be done is not so much for a white centered validation within the archive but for their own historical record and web archival approach.
Risks that people of color take to share their stories, art or ideas is daunting. Examples include the Coin-tel program created by the FBI to surveillance The Black Panther Party on the 1960s or the numerous assassination attempts on black leaders whose life work was to liberate and free people of color. When it comes to black cultures documenting and reporting misconduct by police or government practices it becomes a dangerous and deadly task. The “white space” of web archives, as one speaker suggests, shed light as to how this is very intimidating practice is not taken into account when preserving narratives and history surrounding black people.
Does digital archiving for under-represented communities become this daunting task that nobody wants to do? How do we listen to these voices of desperation and frustration; and single out what is important to the digital archival of blackness and what to leave out of the archive of blackness- for protection.