17 April 2013

Curaçao: The state of social media use for Afrodescendant activism


In a semi-postcolonial territory such as Curaçao, there are few successful attempts to create a climate of social activism via new media that actually result in the socio-political transformation of low income and unemployed communities. Under the heavy influence of Dutch rule, the last memorable social media-inspired political manifestations were little more than thinly-veiled pleas by the middle and upperclass to relive the colonial times when the Dutch government was in power. A period in the eyes of Dutch white supremacy, universal suffrage would lead Afro-Curaçaoans into cannibalistic depths.

There is one memorable use of the social media space in Curaçao that will not to be soon forgotten; it a petition circulated by an by an online community of residents to block and condemn the removal of the colonial Peter Stuyvesant statue in front of their high school. The cyber-narrative that the middle and elite classes promoted through social media to de-africanize the spirit and history of the community was one that presented Stuyvesant as a hero and a founding father of Curaçao the prosperous nation of among failed Caribbean states. It suggested that he should be regarded as someone who saved Afro-Curaçaoans from a life full of misery lived in the African bushes by enabling Dutch slavery. The cyber narrative is an offense against the ancestors by honoring the man who enslaved us.