The host of MTV’s web series Decoded chronicles her difficulties navigating the early days of social media and her evolution as an advocate for social justice.
Ramsey has a solid media platform: A comedian, actress, and blogger, she was a writer and correspondent for the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and has been featured on NPR, the BBC, and Anderson Cooper 360. With a program in the works with Comedy Central, the author offers her story as an illustration of why, in today’s overheated social and political environment, it is more important than ever to pay close attention to how we communicate with each other. Early on she admits that she is a product of social media: “I have a long and complicated history with the internet. I basically grew up online.” She built her first website while still in middle school. By high school, she had purchased her own domain name and began blogging. Ramsey was an early fan of YouTube and began making videos for fun. “I know the exact date I went from being a nobody, minding my own business in my corporate retail job,” she writes, “to being ‘internet famous’—and inadvertently making a lot of girls cry.” That moment came after she posted a video, “Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls,” which went “super-massive, mainstream-news viral.” Ramsey’s narrative is a snappy mix of the funny, sad, and horrifying incidents that have shaped her life, many of which demonstrate lessons that can apply to a wide variety of modern-day readers. For the unwoke among us, Ramsey thoughtfully includes “Franchesca’s Simple Explanations of Not-So-Simple Concepts,” a “social-justice glossary” that includes definitions of such terms as “gender binary,” “cisgender,” “Latinx,” and “Slacktivism.”
An admirable exploration of the rapidly morphing boundaries of social mores and online outrage; the author helpfully points the way toward better communication.