A hashtag can be a powerful thing.
Take, for example, #BBUM, the hashtag a group of University of Michigan students used this week to discuss race relations at colleges. The hashtag’s abbreviation stands for “Being black at the University of Michigan,” but it quickly set off a national discussion that went well beyond that one school.
After the university’s Black Student Union began using the #BBUM Tuesday, people used the hashtag more than 13,000 times in the following 24 hours or so, according to Yahoo
. It was still in wide use Thursday night and Friday morning to discuss topics ranging from the assumption that all black students are athletes
to simple offers of support
The University of Michigan issued this response via Twitter:
Tyler Collier, a senior at the University of Michigan and president of the Black Student Union, said the hashtag was created because “we really just wanted to create a platform for our voices to be heard.” It was a heartfelt approach, and it has resonated.
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It also touched on a topic that remains a huge concern for universities and students. For instance, a group of white San Jose State University students were charged with a hate crime for tormenting a black freshman roommate
. Students held a rally urging faster university action with regard to race relations.
Certainly the #BBUM hashtag has made the issue much harder for administrators to ignore.