Blogging is often dismissed as a needless hobby. Though it’s an extremely lucrative career option for those who can master it, bloggers’ credibility is often called into question; their contributions deemed frivolous and unsubstantial. But a recent controversy in Princeton, New Jersey proves that blogging can also be the catalyst for social change.
17-year-old Jamaica Ponder witnessed fellow Princeton High School classmates playing a drinking game titled “Jews vs. Nazis” in a clip from Snapchat. The racially insensitive beer pong variation involved Solo cups arranged in the shapes of a Swastika and the Star of David. Ponder took to her blog to write about how racist the game was. And shortly thereafter, her blog post exploded into a media frenzy.
"It’s the very people in her community that have taken issue with her brand of blog activism."
Of course, many people across the country have supported her efforts as her public venting has exposed intolerance and ignorance. But it’s the very people in her community that have taken issue with her brand of blog activism. Some feel that her views are correct but that the issue should have been handled internally. They’re worried about the negative light being shined on the school, and many are worried that the students’ participation in the drinking game could affect their standing on the school’s athletic teams. Or that it could even affect their chances of getting into college.
I support Ponder’s blog post. If anything, blogs are free reign for the discussion of things that affect us, inspire us, and anger us. She has every right to share what she feels is appropriate. Especially when it comes to acts of racism amongst her peers.
"Ponder’s blog post, and really her blog in its entirety, serves a great purpose of detailing her experience as a black girl in an affluent environment."
It seems that the Princeton community is embarrassed because they’ve been caught and not because the kids’ behavior was wrong. They seem more concerned about preserving an image than dealing with the real issue at hand. It’s clear that the kids’ behavior is a result of prevailing beliefs and attitudes in the community. Not to say that teenagers are parrots who repeat everything they hear, but the game’s participants have clearly been raised in an environment where they don’t understand that this is wrong.
Ponder’s blog post, and really her blog in its entirety, serves a great purpose of detailing her experience as a black girl in an affluent environment. Her sentiments, including a post called “Not Your Nigga” about white students’ use of the n-word, very loudly echo what’s been taking place on Ivy League campuses across the country. While it’s often honorary to be one of the few black faces among the crowd of America’s higher education elite, it comes with baggage.
And Jamaica Ponder has every right to share that baggage with her readers. For those who misunderstand what bloggers do, it’s not all about outfits and celebrities. The really good bloggers out there are writers who have important stories to tell. And as long as those stories continue to carry the weight of jamaicaponder.com, the blogging community will most certainly continue to prosper.
For a more in-depth look at the story, head over to New York Times.