There’s nothing more disheartening than sharing your thoughts online and being attacked by a complete stranger. It’s even worse when these attacks are fueled by racism.
It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century, incidents like this happen all too frequently.
But recently, I stumbled upon Black & Abroad’s “Go Back to Africa” campaign, and it gave me a glimmer of hope. Finally, it seemed like there was a force ready to combat these racist attacks head-on.
What made it even more impressive was that it wasn’t spearheaded by a government entity or the NAACP. No, it was a travel company that decided to take a stand.
This proves that there are valuable storytelling lessons to be learned by social entrepreneurs.
If you haven’t had the chance to see the video for the “Go Back to Africa” campaign, let me fill you in.
Black & Abroad strategically placed paid ads on platforms like Twitter and YouTube to capture hate speech in real-time as it was directed toward Black people.
But here’s the twist — they didn’t stop there. They redacted the hateful parts of the posts or comments, transforming them into positive messages promoting tourism. Their goal was to promote racial equity and inclusion, and drive people to their new website, GoBacktoAfrica.com.
One of the reasons I was so captivated by this approach is the historical context behind the phrase “Go back to Africa.” It carries a long, intricate history and, regrettably, is still used today as a tool to put Black people in their perceived place — both online and in real life.
Astonishingly, research indicates that this phrase is employed over 4,500 times each month in online interactions.
The magnitude of this statistic is staggering, further emphasizing the importance of challenging and reshaping the narrative surrounding it.
Reflecting on the remarkable impact of Black & Abroad’s “Go Back to Africa” campaign, it becomes evident that we have only scratched the surface of the potential of justice-motivated technology to drive social change online.
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