Mass Incarceration in Social Media

For my analysis of mass incarceration on Twitter, I used the TAGS 6.1 archive created by Martin Hawksey. This archive allows you to pull a specified number of tweets containing a certain keyword. The archive is represented in a spreadsheet laid out chronologically, displaying the tweet itself, user, time tweeted, and some metatdata like location, follower count of the tweeter and the user’s language. For my archive, I archived 3000 tweets starting April 2 and ending April 12 containing the keyword #massincarceration.

Some trends jumped out at me as I looked through the TAGS archive. I was really impressed with the amount and variety of information that archive could pull, I had no idea that my location could even be part of the metadata of a tweet. Speaking of locational metadata, I’ll start with trends in location. It seems that many of the tweets, not all of course, come from urban locations. These locations include New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Houston, Baltimore, and Los Angeles.

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 11.39.11 PM.png  One reason to describe this could be sheer population density. Many peoplelive in cities, it would make sense for many tweets to come from cities. Another reason could be the relatively liberal political lean of most urban areas (discussed in this article from NYMag). Progressive communities like those in cities will push for reform on social justice-related issues. Mass incarceration could be an example of one of the issues that largely politically left cities are discussing. Another possible explanation could be by looking at the locations of the communities affected by mass incarceration. In this case, we can look at the concentration of population of black people in cities. Census.gov published an article in which it describes the concentration of black people in certain areas. According to the article, “6 in 10 people reporting as Black or African American, alone or in combination with other races, resided in 10 states where nearly half the U.S. population lived last year.” This tells me that 6 in 10, or a very large amount of the black population, lives in concentrated areas. This may seem like a frivolous detail, but I will again reference the work of Michelle Alexander. According to Alexander, mass incarceration is a very racial issue. Knowing that a large amount of the black population is in cities and that mass incarceration is an issue that most affects black communities, it would make sense that the conversation of mass incarceration stems from urban areas.

Another interesting trend I started to notice was in the data on follower counts. I expect for an average TAGS archive to pull tweets from mostly “average” twitter users. I’ve seen some different quotes on how many followers an “average” Twitter user, the quotes average very roughly to 200-400 followers. I was surprised how many tweets were from users with much higher follower counts than that. From a sample of the first 50 tweets listed chronologically, 27 of the 50 tweets had more than 400 followers, which is a fairly high estimate for “average” follower counts. So, most tweets including #massincarceration are from what can be considered a large account. Looking through the tweets themselves, I found that there were a lot of organizations that tweeted using #massincarceration to promote events, share articles, or share other media.

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There didn’t seem to be as much discussion of the issue from “average” users. There were some examples of mentioning and replying, but the majority of tweets seemed to be organizations or issue-related accounts promoting media about mass incarceration. This could sound insignificant, but I think it’s an important piece to mention from the statistics. It tells me that some larger accounts and people are trying to start discussion but those discussions might not be happening on Twitter. That being said, I don’t think Twitter tells the whole story on the issue of mass incarceration. I think mass incarceration is part of the larger picture of social justice, but doesn’t have strong representation on social media.

Honestly, I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t a shorter period of tweets pulled to reach the specified 3000. I would think that more than 300 people per day tweet about mass incarceration. It seems to be an issue I hear about in discussion and on the news. I know it’s not the most in-spotlight social issue but I think it’s on many people’s radar. I’m not the best at picking through spreadsheets and analyzing numbers, but the conclusions I drew could help me in my studies on mass incarceration. Hopefully I’ll be able to either reject or strengthen these claims as I look at mass incarceration on social media in further depth.

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Mashup Reflection

“When technology shifts, it bends the culture.”

Kevin Kelly’s words speak volumes when it comes to the shift from traditional writing to working with digital video. Working with digital video comes with more technical challenges that tradition writing may not come with. Some of those challenges include learning the technology to edit video. Technology can be glitchy as well so sometimes finding a solution to the glitchiness adds to the difficulty of creating the video. Editing video has to come with even more perfection than simply writing would do, such as making sure the one clip that you want ends at the perfect time to allow the second clip to start without a delay and to start when you want it to. Having to seek out videos to include into a mashup piece like the one we did is like doing research for a traditional written paper and finding your sources. You’re looking through large data bases to find what you need based on keywords and other pieces of information. Looking digitally for video is very similar. I found it was more difficult than finding sources for traditional writing sources because I usually have a clearer idea of the type of research or topic I’m looking for in a research project. For this project, it was harder to find a “video of businessman shaking hands with younger businessman” and things of that nature. Sometimes what you’re looking for hasn’t even been created yet (or you can’t find it) and that problem is also very similar when it comes to writing traditional pieces.

The mashup does allow for more creativity in the thought process than traditional writing. Traditional writing is very clear cut with certain objectives laid out and goals to accomplish to create a thorough piece. However, when it comes to mashups, the creator has much more freedom to be more abstract with their video choice to still get across their message. Being able to use music and video clips allows for two mediums to be used at once to get across the point of the creator. The creator is not looking to meet the objectives of someone else either, like a written paper for class. The mashup creator is looking to channel their creativity to think differently and use tools they want to get their point across to their audience.

 

My mashup was on juvenile incarceration and how it destroys that idea of the American Dream. In my semester of doing research of juvenile incarceration, I threw that idea of the American Dream out the window. I employed that idea in the beginning of the video when I showed the images of the tattered and burning American flags. The song that I een chose “XXX” by Kendrick Lamar starts off by saying “America… God bless you if it’s good to you.” This is an idea that is seen in the juvenile justice movement. A lot of people ended up being wrongfully convicted at a young age and stuck in jail for their whole lives or close to it because the justice system failed them and was just simply not good to them.

I used a lot of images of darkness and isolation to encompass that this is a hard journey that the youth of America are fighting on their own for minor crimes or crimes they haven’t convicted. Being imprisoned at such a young age limits them from so many opportunities for social interaction and limits them from future job opportunities once they get out of prison, if they even are able to do that. One image I had of a young woman in solitary confinement. This is an atrocious act that is being done to juveniles in prison that truly cuts them off from the world around them and hinders their development.The mashup shows resistance against the idea of this perfect life that Americans strive to live. No one can ever lead a perfect life. We all get lonely, we all get treated unfairly and kicked around, some of us end up being incarcerated at a young age. We need to be treating everyone with human dignity and that’s something that needs to come out of reforming our juvenile justice system. This mashup is to show that incarcerated juveniles are not to be looked down upon and shut out from society. They are still people, young people, that deserve to maintain some of their youth and be introduced to healthier outlets for their frustrations and to let out their creativity. Their intelligence should not be treated any lesser just because they’re incarcerated and not participating in everyday society. Being educated is a simple right that everyone deserves, not just those who are not in prison. This video is the resistance to people treating incarcerated juveniles as if they are lesser and to highlight their potential and their worth.

 

Juvenile Incarceration in Social Media

I have personally found that juvenile incarceration isn’t a highly discussed topic on social media. I chose this topic to find those spaces on social media that are discussing it and shed more light on them. After doing more searching on Twitter, I found some hashtags that are being used in the online discussion of juvenile incarceration, including:

#youthjustice

#UnshackleTheChildren

#restorativejustice

#secondchance

#childwelfare

#juvenilejustice is a top hashtag that is used in the discussion on juvenile incarceration. A majority of the tweets using this hashtag include attached news stories about juveniles that are being incarcerated and their trials, facts and figures on juvenile incarceration in the United States, or platform where people are expressing their thoughts and feelings about juvenile incarceration.

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Among the top tweeters of this hashtag are:

@JusticeFoTXKids

@JuvenileCrime

@Community_Court

@Baby_Scotty

@16andVOTE

What I found most interesting about top tweeter @JusticeFoTXKids after researching them on Twitter was that this account is actually a bot. According to Wikipedia, “The bot software may autonomously perform actions such as tweeting, retweeting, liking, following, unfollowing, or direct messaging other accounts.” This bot in particular does not tweet its own content. It only retweets content from certain accounts it follows using the #juvenilejustice. In @JusticeFoTXKids bio, it claims to focus on juvenile justice issues in Texas. However, after looking through some of their retweeted content, they are retweeting content about juvenile justice issues all over the United States.

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@JuvenileCrime tends to get the most retweets out of all of the top accounts. @Juvenil

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eCrime is an account for Global Youth Justice, Inc. that specializes in diversion programs for youth that are involved in the juvenile justice system. They tweet out a lot of their own content includes images and graphics they create with a link to their website. They also retweet articles about juvenile justice and action being taken against it, and even retweet their own account a lot. This organization also focuses on all types of youth freedom, including injustices such as youth poverty and youth refugees all over the world. @Co

 

mmunity_Court is the 2nd top tweeter of #juvenilejustice. It falls under Global Youth J

ustice Inc. but focuses on youth justice for more centralized locations. Yet, they still retweet @JuvenileCrime and don’t have much original content. Global Youth Justice Inc.’s CEO @Baby_Scotty holds the #4 spot as top tweeter for the #juvenilejustice. His account also has barely any orginial content, but he does retweet a lot. He is mostly retweeting @JuvenileCrime and the courts that Global Youth Justice Inc. works with around the world. In fact, all top 7 accounts using #juvenilejustice all fall under Global Youth Justice Inc. and retweet all the same content. This company almost has a monopoly over the #juvenilejustice. Since there really isn’t much activity or diverse posts, they are not using their power to promote discussion on Twitter about juvenile incarceration. They are moreso using their power to bring attention to the programs they run.

 

The 7th top tweeter of #juvenilejustice is the account @SupportForJeff. This account was very different from the other top tweeters. It is an account in support of a Jeff Johnson who was sentenced to life without parole at age 17 for a murder he didn’t commit, even though there is physical evidence and a confession from the actual killer. It has now been 24 years since the murder, Jeff is still in jail, and this account is seeking justice for Jeff with any help they can find. This account retweets other accounts that have graphics on juvenile incarceration, inspiration for those in the court system, and news stories to educate people about juvenile incarceration in our world today.

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In the archive of about a week and a half’s worth of tweets, there were 1311 tweets using the #juvenilejustice. In 1230 of those tweets, links were included in the tweets and 1037 retweets. What is most interesting about this hashtag is that only 1% of tweets using #juvenilejustice were included in a thread. This shows how there is not much interactivity in the discussion of juvenile incarceration on Twitter. People are more willing to share tweets and articles about this issue than engage in conversation about it via replies. It is a topic that is not being heavily covered in the current media, yet it is a problem that is plaguing our nation every day. If it was being covered more in the media, I feel that people would be more willing to be discussing and debating it with each other on social media. You see celebrities at awards shows wearing certain colors or sporting ribbons to bring light to a cause or issue, but that cause has never been juvenile incarceration. If that’s something people were so publicly speaking out against, then I feel we would be seeing more activity with the #juvenilejustice hashtag or other related hashtags.

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Climate Change Blog Post #3

The hashtag I have chosen is #ClimateChangeIsReal. Climate Change is a popular topic on twitter and I thought that this hashtag was most relevant to my semester topic of study. People post about it every day and share videos and images about how it is affecting the world. There are 2,580 tweets using this hashtag and 1,612 retweets using this hashtag in the archive system. Hashtags are used to engage in conversation with people that are also posting about a certain topic. Some of the other hashtags that are associated with this hashtag are: #ClimateChange, #Climateaction, #globalwarming, #actonclimate, #epa, and #environment. These hashtags are all posted by twitter users who actively post and discuss this topic on twitter. A lot of these hashtags are used within the same tweet. People will combine a lot of hashtags that have to do with a certain subject to help get there message across and to connect with other people that are interested in the topic.

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The top tweeters are: @Climate_ch, @EHFoundation237, @AlexWitzleban, and @lensfocus. The top tweeter, @Climate_ch, mostly retweets other people that use the hashtag #ClimateChangeIsReal. I have found that most of the top tweeters of this hashtag are retweeting it from other peoples posts instead of tweeting their own post with the hashtag. Most of the content that is tweeted about this topic is about how climate change is real, is moving fast, and is affecting all of us. People are posting about how action is needed and how it is happening all around us right now. Most of the content is meant to inform people about the devastating effects of climate change.

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People are posting videos that show climate change in action. For example, below is a video that someone tweeted of the disappearing Yosemite glacier.

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They are showing these videos as proof that global warming is actively happening right now. This type of content is powerful because it gives people visuals and allows them to see what kind of effects climate change is having on the world.

The top conversationalists that use this hashtag to discuss this topic are: @cathmckenna, @lensfocus, and @TomassoRico. Below is a conversation between a few of them discussing this topic while using the hashtag #ClimateChangeIsReal. 

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The conversation started with @lensfocus tagging a few others in a tweet with the #ClimateChangeIsReal and then a link to someone else’s twitter post about Donald Trump and global warming. The rest of the conversation consists of tweets with @lensfocus thoughts and then links to pages. The #ClimateChangeIsReal hashtag is used throughout the entire conversation.

People have a lot to say about this topic. A lot of the tweeters state their own opinion on this topic and then retweet or like other tweets that follow along the lines of their beliefs. A lot of these tweeters comment on each others posts, which leads to other people commenting and retweeting each other. People tend to retweet this hashtag and then have a few sentences about their own opinion on the subject. Below is a list of the most tweets that were retweeted from the last 1-2 days. 

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The content in these tweets are mostly meant to bring more awareness. People are retweeting the posts so that it can spread to their followers and so on.

Some of the tweeters content is just a bunch of hashtags that are associated with climate change. This is meant to show that they care about this topic. It is also a way to network and connect with other people on twitter. 

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People are also sharing links about climate change and extreme weather. Links are often included in these tweets so that people can read more about the topic and become more aware. There are 2,204 links shown in the archive. The links are mostly articles about the devastating effects of climate change, videos of politicians discussing this issue, or links to another person’s post about climate change. These links can take people to other websites and have them dig deeper into the subject. This will allow them to be more educated on the issue and then join in on the conversation with other people on twitter. People are very active with this hashtag and use it create conversations and make more people aware of this issue. Below is a general list of tweets from people who are engaging with this hashtag. 

archive3 This hashtag is able to educate, connect, and inform people from all over the world about the effects of climate change and how it is real and affecting all of us more than we may realize.

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Mashup Video Reflection

During the process of making the “mashup” video content I had to think of creative ways to express my written work and emotions towards immigration reform in a moving visual presentation. In the first stages of this experience I struggled a lot because I could not envision exact clips or movie content that would express my thoughts and feelings I wanted to convey in the film. It was only after I selected the song for the video, when images and video clip ideas became easier to think of. The song I choose was “Hand in Pocket,” sung by Alanis Morissette. The song is about resilience, fighting for what is right, and being your own person. I thought this song paired well with what I have written and discussed in relation to the immigration reform going on right now in the U.S. The song reflects the effort and courage the young undocumented immigrants have when they are protesting, even when so much of their lives and family’s lives are at stake. The song is uplifting, similar to the many stories and experiences DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants. The DACA protests are about different ethnicities, cultures, and people all coming together to fight for their equal rights to be American citizens. I thought the song reflected those ideals. After choosing the song, it was easy to pair the lyrics with images and video clips from the DACA protests.

Although I prefer traditional writing to creating my own video content, I thought this project was challenging yet interesting because it forced me to think about describing emotions and events from a different medium. In traditional writing it is easy to convey a concise message to your audience and have them understand your point of your or another point of view through descriptive words and sentence structure. But with video your audience can see an entirely different perspective. Short videos or movies allow for the viewer to see physical emotions of other people, hear sadness in either the background music or people speaking. There is a completely different perspective or emotion received by the viewer after watching a video versus reading a written piece. Traditional writing and video content both can provide very differ perspectives on the same issues/topics. In my experience I still prefer traditional writing over movie content, but I can appreciate that film and video content can provide a different experience for the viewers.

In my video I used visual signs of sadness, betrayal, lost, hope, courage, unity, peace, love, family, strong work ethic, and devotion. All of these words I tried to depict in the video content I provide in the mashup. In the opening scenes I played a clip of a young undocumented high school student working a part-time job while attending school, he showed sadness but also strong and devotion. I added landscape clips and footage of people protesting all across America. In all of my footage I wanted to elude an feeling of sadness but also a feeling of hope and unity among the undocumented immigrants in American and the American citizens around them supporting them and their cause. The message I wanted to tell my audience was that these stories and lives of these young immigrants should matter to everyone. There needs to be more attention to what is going on currently in our government in regards to undocumented immigrants especially young teenagers or young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children. I hope that with my mashup video I am revealing the pain and lost that many of these individuals feel. I wanted to show who their protest movements are all over the country and are helping to change the discussion when it comes to immigration reform.

My mashup video is a form of resistance because it is taking multiple images, video clips, and audio to create a whole different message and speak to an issue. There are many mashup and user generated content online about immigration reform or various social movements. In each video they all share a common goal of informing people about the issues and making people more aware, but each message and story like is different. It is the difference in the content, the story, and the way the creator went about making the video or audio that creates conversations and a more rounded understanding.

Juvenile Incarceration in Popular Culture

Juvenile incarceration’s representation in popular culture has been present in music, film, and TV since the1970s. When researching this topic and media to add into my mashup assignment, I have been able to find a good deal of information and pieces to use.

I find that juvenile incarceration is most commonly represented in music. I found a documentary called Feltham Sings that I have started using for my mashup video and will continue to use.

 

The documentary was released in 2002 and follows juvenile offenders in Feltham prison. They discuss their lives in prison and how they will most likely end up back in prison due to re-offenses. Another big part of this documentary is music. A lot of the prisoners are rapping and singing about their time in jail and personal experiences. It’s hard to watch the juveniles talk about their hopes and dreams for their future which they may not be able to achieve if they even do get out of prison one day. These juveniles are locked away for long periods of time even for minor offenses they committed at a young age, prevented them from getting back into the real world and reclaim their lives for themselves. Even if they do get out, they are sometimes looked down upon and turned away from employers and even family and friends. This documentary shows the realness behind those juveniles behind bars. It helps the viewer realize that everyone does have potential and deserves the right to achieve their dreams.

My mashup video’s title song is “XXX. FEAT. U2.” by Kendrick Lamar off of his latest 2017 album “DAMN.” This song inspired me to challenge the idea of the American Dream in my zine as well as in the mashup assignment. It sheds light to the violence in America whether it be due to guns, drug violence, gang activity, or even in white collar work places.  

 

Yesterday I got a call like from my dog like 101

Said they killed his only son because of insufficient funds

He was sobbin’, he was mobbin’, way belligerent and drunk

Talkin’ out his head, philosophin’ on what the Lord had done

 

It’s murder on my street, your street, back streets
Wall Street, corporate offices
Banks, employees, and bosses with
Homicidal thoughts;

This song highlights how your environemnt affects how you grown up and what you become of your envirnment. For juvenile offenders, they typically grow up in areas where they’re taught to be violent and act out and that’s considered the norm. Their normal activities are what land them in jail and cause them to reoffend once they are finally released. But juvenile offenders don’t just come from poor neighborhoods. Vioelnt or criminal behavior takes place even in the everyday workplace as well, even to those who have big dreams for themselves and their futures.

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Vice is a television show on HBO in which commentators travel the world to interview and learn about a topic or environment to shed more light on it and the issues behind it. They’ve previously traveled to learned more about climate change and even child suicide bombers. In their upcoming April 2018 season, they will be delving into the juvenile justice system. Actor Michael Kenneth Williams will be learning about how juvenile incarceration has caused an increase in mass incarceration in the United States. Vice is an Emmy- award winning show. With a show that can get a lot of press, this could be huge in educating people on juvenile incarceration more.

 

Teen Vogue is a popular element in pop culture, typically directed towards young females. In October of 2017, the magazine celebrated United States for National Youth Justice Awareness Month with their series “Kids Incarcerated.” In one of their “Kids Incarcerated” posts, they gave facts and figures on juveniles in the justice system and how they are treated. The article particularly highlights how a certain prison allowed juvenile offenders to take a guitar class to instill in them a sense of purpose for their time in prison as well as something positive to occupy their time with once they are out of prison. I like how Teen Vogue to this approach to shed light on this topic to a demographic that most likely doesn’t know much about juvenile incarceration. It’s a smart way to get people talking about it and show the humanness to the juvenile offenders.

The way that media, especially broadcast media, portrays juvenile crime and incarceration is even bias. An article on Nieman Reports discussing when broadcast media covers stories about teenagers and crime, they usual dominate the stories of youth violence with  portrayals, especially visual images, that are dominated by pictures of African-Americans or Latino youth. These broadcast mediums play into the racial profiling of those who are in the juvenile justice system. You could be a rich white kid who got caught up in selling or buying drugs to end up in juvenile prison. It is not a race problem; it is an environment and our environment needs to change soon for the youth of America.

Zine Reflection

A. Zine Making Process

I found that making the zine was a very freeing experience. I wasn’t bound by certain complicated and expensive computer programs when creating this zine like I have previously felt when creating pieces for previous Communications classes. I had free range to design things however I want knowing that imperfection is actually key to creating these zines. I didn’t have to spell check everything and make sure everything was perfectly lined up and looked neat and orderly. I really enjoyed cutting out texts not on a straight line (since I cannot do that for the life of me) and separating certain lines of text from others to emphasize them more.  I could say what was on my mind and use pieces of other work to bring light to my social justice issue in the way that I wanted to. The typewriter was definitely tricky to use. I haven’t used once since I was real young just messing around with it in my basement. Learning how to load the paper, move to the next line, and insure that all of my letters were actually being printed on the paper was difficult but I kept in mind that I was a zinester for this project, not a professional designer.

Once I started creating my zine, I found so many different directions I could take it in. I found a lot of information on how music is incorporated in the juvenile justice system as a way for the juveniles to channel their anger and desires to make bad decisions into creating their own music or learning a new instrument. It improves their self-worth and purpose as well. I was able to include pieces from songs that juveniles in the justice system have written themselves as well as a short list of how they feel when they’re making music and when they’re not making music. I did however make a mistake with my end of the project. I thought we needed to have 4 full sheets of zine pages. I created this attached sheet of pages that utilized clippings from magazines in class, a brief overview of juvenile incarceration and solitary confinement, as well as hashtags used in the juvenile incarceration discussion that I typed on the typewriter. Here’s the director’s cut version!

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B. Zines are Liberating!
After my first draft, I felt that I had room for improvement on being a radical communicator and designer for sure. I channeled my inner Riot Grrrl and went to town on my next set of pages for my part of the zine. When I was looking up information and images on the internet of juvenile incarceration, I found this really compelling image:

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It is a detailed infographic on the statistics of what it’s like to incarcerate vs. educate a juvenile, specifically in Pennsylvania. As you can see, the numbers are really astonishing and the infographic does a great job at breaking down the types of juveniles that are being incarcerated and how being incarcerated so young affects them. I pasted this infographic right into my zine and took a note from the zines we looked at and grabbed a marker to write in “EDUCATE VS. INCARCERATE” to add a little DIY element and really get my point across. Duncombe discusses the importance of DIY in the zine world in their selection from “Notes from Underground.” I like how Duncombe said that zines are a call to action to “make your own culture and stop consuming that which is made for you” (Duncombe 2). Zines are not a cultural element in which everything has to be perfect and pristine and follow the guidelines of a software program. They are unique spaces to “write openly” and share the culture you want to create (Duncombe 3).

This infographic really angered me. First of all, it angered me on how terrible the Philadelphia schools are due to under-funding and the effects that has on children. Since they’re not motivated to be in school and are not learning in safe and nurturing environments, no wonder the juveniles are on the streets getting involved in crimes and other offenses that land them in prison. Looking at this disparity, I started to rethink the idea of the “American Dream.” What even is the American Dream anyway? Yeah you can live in America, but it sure as hell is far from perfect. Everyone struggles in different ways, whether that be economically, socially, mentally, etc. But how can one live the American Dream if one doesn’t even have the means of achieving it? Some people are born into situations of low economic status, parents are unemployed or they don’t have parents and are in the foster care system, are homeless, or grow up in a neighborhood of high gang activity and violence.

These ideas got me riled up enough to write about them in my zine. I also got the idea for my mashup video after this. The video opens on a young adult in jail and the other working in a white- collar job. The progression of the video after (to the song XXX ft. U2 by Kendrick Lamar) will show the viewer why each of these young adults ended up in these situations of their lives based on the neighborhood they grew up in, the education they received, how their parents treated them, etc.
C. Zines and Participatory Culture
Zines in general create a space that encourages participatory culture and coming together to support or criticize something. Jenkins’ article has many different definitions of participatory culture but this excerpt they included about participatory culture really stood out to me the most:

 

“A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices. A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their con­tributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).”

 

Let’s break this apart. “A culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression.” I think my zine definitely nailed that aspect of it. I have very low quality artistic skills. Going into this zine assignment, I was a little worried that my artistic and design skills would fail me and my zine wouldn’t look nice. But as I learned more about zines and actually started making it, I realized that I really did not need any artistic experience at all. I knew how to wield a pair of scissors and I was learning how to use a typewrite all over again so I was set. I even felt confident enough to include one of my own really bad drawings of the music notes. I wanted this zine to represent me and represent my not-so-perfect style of art and I think my little music notes captured that aspect of me letting go of my idea of perfection. And as Jenkins said, I feel like my contribution mattered.

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“Sharing one’s creations.” I’m lucky that I stumbled upon the PDF document “May the Songs I Have Written Speak for Me: An Exploration in the Potential of Music in Juvenile Justice.” This added a whole new element to my zine and took me in a direction I didn’t plan on going in. When I was searching for songs that discussed juvenile justice, that is when I found this article. I got to learn more about how juveniles that are incarcerated have been introduced to creating music in prison and learning instruments as a way to channel their anger/frustration/violent thoughts in a positive way. In the document, there were some original songs written by juveniles in prison. There’s one that really stuck out to me because it was handwritten and really added that DIY element to my zine. In a way, I felt connected to those juveniles who wrote the original songs I included. I hope they can one day know that their work was appreciated and used as a way to shed light on their situation.

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