self reflection exercise:
How are you impacted by media narratives?
What is a Narrative? How do you engage with narratives every day?
Narratives are the stories we see, hear, and tell about the world, ourselves, and our place within it. They can be fact, fiction, or a combination that muddles reality. They compellingly invite us to engage and believe. They can be inspiring, and they can be alienating. They can be unifying, and they can be polarizing. They hold our history, our triumphs, and our pain.
They are also prolific: everywhere, all the time. We are enveloped by narratives each day. Narratives combined with our life experiences and expectations are what give us our unique perspective and shape how we move through the world. We will always find ways to justify our differing perspectives, to others and to ourselves, even when we know they may be wrong. We hold onto these ideas and stories because they take hold of our imagination and give meaning to our lives. In this digital age, it is even easier to get caught in a singular perspective, to not challenge the narratives shaping who we are and how we see the world, and to find all of the justifications for our convictions just a swipe away.
In honor of Black History Month, and the dire need to challenge many of the narratives that hold our collective consciousness from progress, this month we want to engage you with questions, resources, and an extended conversation around narratives.
Reflect with us and ask yourself:
What is a narrative?
How do I engage with narratives?
How do I create them internally for ourselves and externally for others?
How are narratives created?
Who benefits from their creation and belief?
How do online information systems and the construction of information through them impact my understanding of myself and the world I live in?
How am I impacted by both current and historical narratives?
How can narratives be weaponized?
Reflect on a narrative you once believed but no longer do.
Why and how did you change your views?
How did you perpetuate the old narrative?
How are you perpetuating the new narrative?
Understanding that we don’t always control the narratives we consume and live within can make it easier to challenge and question those put before us. Developing an agile, critical mindset that allows us to change our stance on an issue when new information arises that challenges our deeply held narratives will make it easier to let go of them.
Whether you choose to write your response here or…
Converse with another human
go for a walk
talk to your dog
put it on paper
consider it quietly
draw it out
write a song
put motion to your thoughts
drink some whiskey with a friend.
Take one step towards becoming more aware of the digital forces impacting your life.