Outrage shouldn’t end just because social media says so
Black Lives Matter is more than an Instagram post
As an African-American youth, my eyes have been firmly trained on the responses of those I care about following the video of George Floyd’s life being horribly snatched away. However, just as the land of the free approaches the two-week mark of his unjust death, the black squares, Instagram story chains, and other “brave” statements of support from certain people in my circle seem to have died down on social media.
Even support for the Black community that isn’t the performative allyship listed above has now been deemed unimportant in competition with the newest poolside selfies. These fun-loving photos are steadily picking up the traction they lost to awareness of injustice in Black America. Social media might as well look the way it did two weeks ago.
It’s no one’s fault, of course. With people graduating, celebrating birthdays, and connecting with friends the best way they can during a national pandemic, the gradual return to light-hearted photos is exactly what social media goers need to feel back to normal amid this rollercoaster of a year. Can we blame them? Just like social media is a space for you to be open about your views on the police officers involved in Floyd’s murder, so too is it an arena for posts about how long your connection on FaceBook has been dating their boyfriend.
As Black men, women, and children are killed at the hands of police, it’s no surprise that social media outlets explode to accommodate the outrage. How long can we expect said outrage to last before everyone has already settled back into their normal routines?
If social media becomes filled yet again with photos that have absolutely nothing to do with Black Lives Matter, so be it. Social media should never be an indicator of how our country is faring in the race against inequality. If that were the case, then the deaths of Black men, women, and children killed long before George Floyd would have been void of meaning.
That isn’t meant to say that social media isn’t a space to voice the hurt of recent events. Shout your outrage to the mountaintops of Twitter’s character limit! In the midst of it all, however, don’t let it stop you from taking offscreen action.
In Philadelphia, protests are still going strong, with those both Black and otherwise showing up in droves to stand in solidarity against racism. All over the country, Black businesses are receiving unprecedented support, as their own communities have stepped up to support those who need it most in these times. Petitions for justice to be served for other innocent, Black lives like Breonna Taylor are gaining attention. All of these are examples of how there is still ground to be gained for reform in America, no matter how much the freshest celebrity news may have convinced you otherwise.
Don’t be fooled by social media. Life for people around you may not have had to take a moment to pause to digest the killings of our Black brothers and sisters. Instead of further stretching your anger to explain to colleagues and friends why they too should keep their eyes trained on these wrongdoings, take the time to invigorate your own neighborhood by doing what you can outside of technology. Let’s ensure that we don’t find our “Black Lives Matter” posts yet again swarmed by poolside selfies.