Anti-Racist and Social Justice-Oriented Apps: Clickology for the Greater Good

Stephanie Joseph

Stephanie Joseph

Stephanie Miodus

Stephanie Miodus

Frank Farley

Frank Farley

Stephanie Joseph, M.A., M.Ed.
Temple University
stephanie.joseph0001@temple.edu

Stephanie Miodus, M.A., M.Ed.
Temple University
stephanie.miodus@temple.edu

Frank Farley, Ph.D.
Temple University
frank.farley@temple.edu

“What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what—not who—we are” (Kendi, 2019).

These inspiring words written by Ibram X. Kendi, a National Book Award Winner and best-selling author of How to Be an Antiracist, remind us that a deeper understanding of systemic racism and implicit bias is needed, especially as countless stories and experiences of Black and Brown individuals command national and global attention. For those looking to either learn more about or engage in anti-racist practice and social justice work, there are a number of apps to provide support.

Below we have identified anti-racist and/or social justice-oriented apps that provide a starting point to increasing anti-racist and social justice-oriented practices.

  1. Everyday Racism. This free game/educational app, designed to test your understanding of racism, offers an immersive experience where for seven days, you will receive images, texts, tweets, and videos that will challenge you and your assumptions related to racism. This game/educational app provides you the space to unpack your own biases and enables you to recognize the racism that is rampant around you. Available on Apple Store and Google Play Store.
  2. Kids Together Now. This educational app from the creators of Everyday Racism is specifically geared towards students aged 8-10 years old with an aim to reduce racist incidents. For 8 weeks, students are provided a storyline which they use to identify exclusion and challenge prejudice and stereotypes. Available as a web-based app.
  3. 5 Calls. Make your voice heard. Through this app, you can learn how to contact your elected representatives, get helpful talking points to champion the causes you support, and place those important calls directly within the app. Calling your reps does not get any easier. Available on iPhone and iPad only.
  4. Gather – Conversation starters. More than just a conversation starter app, Gather encourages you to have deep discussions, curated from start to finish around difficult conversation topics like anti-bias education with your family. Through this app, you can explore identity, celebrate diversity, embrace empathy, and commit to allyship. Available on iPhone only.
  5. Say Their Names. Beyond raising awareness for the injustices and the “forgotten” victims of racial inequality, this app provides a directory of certified charities, as well as donation and petition links to support. Available on Apple Store and Google Play Store.
  6. Mobile Justice. This app provides an avenue for recording and reporting incidents with the police. Designed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the app aims to provide an avenue for the public to be able to hold police officers accountable for their actions. Available on Apple Store and Google Play Store in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

These recommended apps can serve as the first steps towards anti-racist and social justice work; there are a plethora of additional resources in the form of books, newsletters, texts, and more available online.

To aid in determining which app or apps you might want to use, it is helpful to have criteria to employ in your evaluation. One set of criteria is reported in an APA panel report (Owings-Fonner, 2020), where the categories for evaluating and employing an app included privacy/security, evidence base, user feedback, purpose, appropriateness of content, cultural responsiveness, ease of use, functionality, and an overall rating. These criteria were applied in the report to working with patients experiencing trauma, but many of the foregoing criteria could apply to the employment of anti-racism apps. Another useful general source concerning choice of an app is an APA podcast (Mills, 2020). The development of anti-racism and social justice-oriented apps will need increasing attention to criteria of effectiveness explicitly for this category as society becomes more attentive to the need for successful approaches to reducing racism and promoting social justice. We call for more research on this use of apps for the social good and note additionally the important need for research on the use of apps for personal emotional well-being (Joseph & Farley, 2020).

References

Joseph, S. & Farley, F. (2020, Spring-Summer Issue). Self-care clickology in stressful times. The Amplifier Magazine of the APA Society for Media Psychology and Technology. https://div46amplifier.com/2020/06/20/self-care-clickology-in-stressful-times/

Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to be an antiracist. NY: Random House.

Mills, K. (2020, September), Speaking of psychology: How to choose effective, science-based mental health apps with Stephen Schueller, Ph.D. Speaking of Psychology, Episode 116. https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/science-based-mental-health-apps

Owings-Fonner, N. (2020, September). Using mobile apps with patients who have experienced trauma. Let’s Get Technical. https://www.apaservices.org/practice/business/technology/tech-column/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-apps

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