Will The Next Dr. Martin Luther King Come From YouTube?

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Damn, that seems like such an incendiary title — i bet most of you came here just because you wanted to get angry that I would even suggest such a thing. But fear of controversy is no reason to stray from a sober and frank discussion.

We’re at a stark time in race relations and hearing some of the loudest outcries since Dr. Martin Luther King jr.’s civil rights push in the ‘60s. The voices come in the shape of Black Lives Matter, a social justice organization that has sprung from the blood in the streets of slain black people, killed by cops and racists akin to the one who shot up the church in Charleston, S.C.

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The Black Lives Matter camp is an angry one though. It threatens to drive a rift between races and isolate peoples who might otherwise be aligned with their cause because people focus on the aggression rather than the message, which is a valid one. There has to be a peaceful solution to this — there has to be someone who can work as a mediator between races to make sense of this all in a calm and rational manner.

Enter Michael Whaley, a 27-year-old ex-Marine who goes by the YouTube handle BBE Ent. He’s new to YouTube, just recently starting to stretch his vlogging muscle, but he’s leapt right into the thick of things to lay some truth on us all.

Stating that All Lives Matter, Whaley is asking that we don’t divide over these recent events but that we come together and figure this out.

The problem, of course, is that the Black Lives Matter camp seems to feel that the time for “peaceful talk” has passed because black people are still being killed in the streets and not a whole lot seems to be changing.

I am not saying that Whaley is the next MLK, nor am I saying he’s a suitable leader for any sort of movement. I know of him and the motivation for his statements only what comes from the videos he has posted. And it would be ignorant of me to think that a couple videos recorded in portrait rather than landscape mode could be any sort of platform for broad social change, but in this digital age, it doesn’t seem unlikely that a leader will emerge from the ranks of a video messaging platform like YouTube. Few platforms seem as acceptable for potentially reaching the entire world.

I don’t know that the world will ever see the likes of another Martin Luther King. I don’t even know that this movement calls for that type of leader. But Whaley has certainly put the idea in my head that YouTube or another visual social media platform of its ilk can be an effective soapbox for bridging racial divides. Whaley’s messages, to me, are simple and impassioned. I hope he continues to speak on the matter because I will continue to listen.

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