Most are familiar with the popular game Jenga.
The object of the game is to build a tower as high as possible and then take as many blocks out without the tower falling apart.
A Jenga Tower.
The perfect equivalent to the metaphor of a “ticking time bomb” where one watches for a reaction during high anticipation.
Take the current state of race relations in the United States of America. In a matter of weeks since the killings of unarmed Black men and women such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, respectively, the social and cultural environment has come to resemble something of a crumbling Jenga tower. CNN writer Lauren Dezenski in her 2020 article, “Race Relations are now front-of-mind for 2020 voters” that “amid ongoing protests over unequal treatment of black American and police brutality, historic unemployment and a pandemic that has disproportionately battered black communities, the conversation in this country has clearly shifted…”
Dezenski is referring to the culmination of anger and outrage over the perpetual mistreatment of Black people at the hands of the police as well as the unintended casualties of the many Black jobs and lives claimed by COVID-19.
This was the last block in the Jenga Tower for Black people in America. After decades upon decades and centuries upon centuries of slavery, the prison-industrial complex, environmental racism and gentrification, education inequality, and a lack of proper cultural representation in media and popular culture, there were no more blocks left to take before the tower crumbled.
What happens in Jenga after the tower crumbles? Does one simply start over or is the game over?
With all that has transpired over the last few months because of perpetuated mistreatment of Black people, it is important to note the 2020 Presidential Election is right around the corner. The stage will be set for the potential of change to occur. Dezenski continues by stating, “four months is a long way away, but that’s not to say this conversation will disappear. Race relations will stay top-of-mind if voters keep it that way.”
This conversation will not disappear just as it has not disappeared for the last four hundred years. With the arrival of social media, conversations about race relations in America can no longer be ignored. Monica Anderson, associate director of research at Pew Research Center, writes in her 2016 article, “Social Media Conversations About Race” that “Americans are increasingly turning to social media for news and political information…Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites can help users bring greater attention to issues through their collective voice…these platforms have provided new arenas for national conversations about race and racial inequality.”
Social media has been what has made the #BlackLivesMatter movement transcend its predecessors movements. With the siege of a myriad of tweets, posts, likes, shares, and comments, change can be just as swift and impactful as a crumbling Jenga Tower.