Technology's role in the Black Lives Matter movement

Posted at 1:17 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 18:26:31-04

HAMPTON, Va. - Many people have spent much of the past few years looking at life through a camera lens.

Recently, bystander cell phone video captured the moments leading to George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. In Virginia Beach, a protester recorded when a red truck drove through a crowd of people.

"Some of what we are witnessing right now, we've never known. We could fear that is happening, but it may not have come to the public attention and now it's out there," said B. DàVida Plummer, the Dean of Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication at Hampton University.

Plummer has an extensive career working in media and education and said she has seen firsthand how technology and social media are changing how we absorb information. She said it has sparked a conversation that has desperately needed to happen.

"When something happens we're not reading about it a day later, we're not [only] seeing it on the evening news, we are experiencing it as it happens," she said.

That point is illustrated as everyday people go Live on Facebook to stream protests and press conferences.

In this day in age it begs the question: what happens if something is not caught on video?

In the context of George Floyd's death, Plummer said, "My greatest fear is that, had [the police officers] not been captured they would not have been held accountable."

Once a video is taken it seems to end up on social media almost immediately, which increases how many people are able to see it and share it.

"Gone are the days where somebody's just going to walk by and pretend 'that's not me, that's not my business.' They are taking their phones and they are capturing it," Plummer said.

Whether those be good or bad moments in life because both shape the path forward.

"Whether you see that camera or see that phone or not, conducting yourself in a way that respects your human brothers and sisters better be the way you move forward because if you don't there is a camera somewhere that will capture it," Plummer said.