Sample Instagram Post
This campaign, designed for a non-profit in Morgan County, addresses unconscious bias in the community towards people of color. This topic is especially relevant in light of worldwide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Morgan County is an agricultural, rural area. It is one of the most diverse in the state and one of the most conservative. The organization I am working with focuses on building community cohesion and connecting immigrants and refugees with resources. The organization is already planning a storytelling campaign based around highlighting community leaders from immigrant and refugee backgrounds to recognize their contributions. They plan to feature new people each week on Lotería cards (a Mexican game like Bingo) through social media and eventually print physical games with the cards. In a community where immigrant and refugee labor is largely erased in favor of white contribution, this project gives a face and voice to non-white members of the community. This provides representation for minority groups and normalizes/humanizes diversity for white audiences. My campaign will accompany and complement this project by confronting the roots of xenophobia and racism. It will be text-based and examine topics like unconscious bias, the history of migration in the area, and the benefits of diversity.
The campaign is directed towards white community members who hold unconscious or conscious prejudices against our diverse constituency. The Lotería project is targeted at white people who have not yet accepted immigrants and refugees of color into their communities. My campaign will target white people who have maybe accepted immigrants and refugees but who need more convincing to be intentionally anti-racist as opposed to not racist. These posts will be sent out on Instagram, a platform where our audience is younger and perhaps more progressive. I am operating under the assumption that these people do not consciously want to uphold white supremacy, so they will be receptive to the campaign. They are potential supporters of the nonprofit’s work but need more values-driven messages to convince them to “buy-in” fully.
The organization’s Facebook page has 848 total followers, 84% are women and 16% are men. 33% are aged 25-34, 28% are aged 35-44, and 15% are aged 45-54. Their Instagram account has 145 followers, 75% women and 25% men. 36% are aged 25-34, 20% are aged 35-44, and 16% are aged 18-24. Instagram offers different data than Facebook, so I can tell that followers on Instagram are most active Thursdays and Mondays. Instagram followers are younger than Facebook followers. The top three languages spoken are English, Spanish, and Somali. In the interest of language equity, the organization has committed to translating everything they post in all three languages.
I have also gathered original data throughout my time as a social media user. I generally know what kind of content my friends are likely to share based on their age, gender, and political views. I also know the values and politics of my community from living there since birth. These data will inform the social media campaign.
The broad goal for this campaign is to make Morgan County a more welcoming place for people of color, specifically our significant immigrant and refugee population. On a more microscopic level, the goal is to foster anti-racism in individuals. There is structural change that needs to be made to completely eliminate racism and xenophobia from the county, but a solid step is to focus on interpersonal exchanges. The most effective methodology involves building from shared values. For example, everyone wants what is best for their children, so in the past, the organization has used this value as a starting point for building cross-cultural interactions.
The campaign will build on the shared value of care for the community. Generally, we all want Morgan County to be a prosperous, safe place. I know that many white people in the area are concerned with the economic prosperity of the community. Many do not acknowledge our economic dependence on immigrant and refugee labor. In similar types of messaging, I have often seen statistics on how much we rely on immigrants. However, messaging around the economy should be careful to not reduce people and their work to mere monetary contributions. I want to be clear that the whole person, cultural differences included, should be not only tolerated but appreciated in Morgan County. The campaign will make explicit the benefits of diversity in the community. Exposure to this type of language will combat negative stereotypes and build community cohesion. For our younger audiences, perhaps it can stop these harmful stereotypes from forming.
Informed by critical media studies
According to resources from Welcoming America, we know that talking about race works. They and others have found that people respond positively when they talk to them about the ways people of color are treated in society (“America Needs All of Us” 2). However, it is also true that certain language alienates a section of people entirely from the conversation. Hoffman talks about this phenomenon in the uses of “climate change” versus “global warming” versus “climate crisis” (28). In the conversation about race, words like “racism,” “privilege,” and “supremacy” all have different meanings to different people. For that reason, my sample Instagram post contributes to building a common vocabulary by teaching the meaning of unconscious bias. Future posts will address more difficult/controversial concepts, like those listed above, after building a baseline.
“America Needs All of Us.” Welcoming America,
“Building Cohesive Communities.” Welcoming America,
Hoffman, Andrew J. How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate. Stanford University
“Implementing Social Marketing.” Community Toolbox,
“Now Hear This: The 9 Laws of Successful Advocacy Campaigns.” Fenton Communications,
“Resources.” Race Matters Institute, http://racemattersinstitute.org.