It’s hard to look at the”Tweeters on Racial Issues” part of the title above without thinking of the third link I posted in my first beat blog last week. Those racist tweets directed at President Obama are the first things that pop into my mind when I think of Twitter and racial issues, and these are some of the countless examples of racist tweets that have been typed on the site over the years.
But this post isn’t meant to discuss those people, it’s meant to focus on those who tweet about racial issues in thoughtful, intelligent ways. Below are three people I’ve discovered on Twitter who consistently deliver smart tweets about race.
1) Keli Goff
Goff is a political correspondent for TheRoot.com, a contributor to the Huffington Post, and a fascinating voice not just on racial issues, but also women’s rights, gun violence, and several other political issues.
Recently, she hasn’t tweeted too much about race (Obama’s inauguration and the Newtown shooting have been her main focuses) but I found several good tweets on this topic. Here’s one about Django Unchained:
Goff was responding to a series of tweets from the next person on my list, Mark Lamont Hill. As you can see, Hill said that Django was an homage to past films but Goff doesn’t think that matters with regards to race relations. It is interesting that she brings up Birth of a Nation, which was a monumental American film but glorified the KKK and framed African Americans in an extremely negative light. In this tweet, one gets a glimpse into Goff’s mind with regards to her opinions about Django and race as a whole.
On the same day she posted that tweet, she tweeted this:
I didn’t even know about this model’s pretty amazing accomplishment before I saw this tweet, and this Vogue issue came out weeks ago. Goff is obviously passionate about issues that affect all races, not just African Americans.
In November, she posted this tweet linking to an article she wrote for TheRoot.com:
It’s a very different take on this topic than I would expect from most people. Goff twists an issue that I’m sure is very infuriating for her into a positive outlook on Obama’s reelection chances, using plenty of links in her post to back her argument up. Thought-provoking stuff.
Characterizing Hill isn’t easy because he is involved with so many professions and institutions. He’s an activist, a faculty member in multiple departments at Columbia University, and the host of HuffPost Live and Our World With Black Enterprise, among several other roles. Here’s a tweet he posted with a link to one of his HuffPost Live segments, discussing (what else?) Django Unchained (this was one of the tweets Goff was responding to):
He’s one of the best tweeters I’ve found on the topic of race because he doesn’t just provide links to his or others’ work but he’ll also post tweets simply speaking his mind, and he does so frequently. You’ll find many sports-related tweets on his profile but he tweets just as much about race.
As you can see, Hill has strong opinions. These two tweets might make him seem like he’s one of those people who will post controversial comments just to get a reaction, but looking at the larger sample of his tweets, this doesn’t seem to be the case at all. He’s not afraid to voice his thoughts on Twitter but he doesn’t tweet provocatively just for the sake of being provocative.
Berger is not a frequent tweeter like Hill but he’s still provided some intriguing content. Berger is a Research Professor at the University of Maryland and is very knowledgeable in the fields of art and cultural history. Twice a month, he produces an essay series called Race Stories that discusses racial issues with regards to race-themed photography (Race Stories appears on the New York Times’ Lens Blog). Here’s a tweet with a link to one of his Race Stories:
He often posts tweets with links to other writers’ stories, as well, like this one back in May:
This linked story talked about Obama’s presidency and its impact on race relations in the U.S. Some critics of Obama don’t think he has done enough to improve racial inequalities during his presidency but the fact that he is black and the President of the United States has made a huge difference to African Americans, the article argues.
Berger is extremely well-educated on racial issues and tweets like these are why Twitter can be such a great source of information.