This was easily my favorite discussion so far because not only was it extremely applicable to the present, not just because the material was so applicable to the present and the global importance of the material as well as its nature, but because the Q and A was so lively and interactive. I felt the Kahlil was great in that was firm in this responses, if there was a question that had a hint of ignorance or privilege he would certainly address that, but he did it in such a way that it was educating ignorance rather than attacking the individual for not understanding or knowing something factual or fundamental about a subject.
Social media and the ability to express opinions is such an important forum in that it gives people wide reaching capabilities. It is important to note that people includes everyone, meaning that those with less resources have at least somewhere close to those with greater means to access the air waves or the social media atmosphere to publish their ideas. In countries where media and news is restricted, flows can slip through the cracks of security, areas such as North Korea for instance, and become the bedrock of what could become macro revolution. The time in which this information can be shared is instantaneous, meaning that within minutes or even seconds, media can reach hundreds of thousands of people, which in turn can share the information through their own networks. One of the reasons why people feel as though race-relations in our country is so bad is because the constant monitoring of social media for news and current events. From the perspective of many, race relations have always been bad, and often times the consensus is that they have been worse. It is the amount of attention and coverage of the evidence of police brutality and systematic racism that has brought this issue back to the forefront of our national discussion.
I think in beginning to understand Khalil Ali’s background, I asked myself a couple of questions: Could I do what he has done? What responsibility do I have to myself, my family, and my country, and how does one begin to fathom weighing the value of your own life? Khalil laughed when he told the story about how he was detained at the airport, but the terror must have been there, and I do not know if there is any better sense of the level of nationalism in a positive sense than what he is doing. In thinking about his perspective, not only is he an incredibly talented artist in that he provokes thought in a way that is focused and both subjective and objective, his art represents courage in a way that art does not usual represent. It is literal courage, not existential courage, that Mr. Ali’s art represents. I have such an unbelievable amount of respect for what he does all the time, as well as the courage of his family and friends who support him, because there are far stronger men than me that would not be doing what he is doing.