Starting in 2013, the Black Lives Matter Movement has been on a trending rise since the events of summer 2020. People that came out as allies to the community took that time to educate themselves on the issue of police brutality in America, meanwhile other “allies” used it as a time to gain their five minutes of “clout” and profit off of the black struggle by participating in performative activism.
I am black, I have been since July 11, 2003. Every day I interact with the world, I am reminded of that. At around the age of 14, I started to more heavily understand and educate myself on the issue of systemic racism and the double standard that is put up against black people every day. I took to sharing resources through social media, convincing my parents to let me use their credit card to donate to causes, and getting into long late-night conversations with my sister about the “black experience.” Due to that, however, I found myself getting into daily racial arguments with my white “friends,” being excluded from my family’s conversations about race because I was “too young to understand,” and being told “oh, well it could be worse” when talking about my experiences with racism. But after the events of this summer, those same “friends” have BLM and ACAB in their social media bios followed by the black fist emoji. And the ones that told me “it could be worse” are the ones that sent me a pathetic sympathy text after “BLM” blew up as Twitter’s number one hashtag.
While I will continue to proudly say Black Lives Matter, the mockery of the movement within is unforgivable. I am grateful to each and every soul that went out of their way to effectively spread the message of the movement, learning as they go. I am not angry at the work they have done to support the movement. I am mad at those that participated in this performative activism in the worst way, by following stupid trends such as the “If you support BLM, share this post.” When we screamed “Justice for George Floyd” the music industry started a trend to post a black square to show support for the movement. When we screamed “Justice for Breonna Taylor” the Band-Aid company decided to finally release a nude bandage for darker skin tones, and as we continue to scream at the top of our lungs saying, “SAY THEIR NAMES” we were left with silence from our trendsetting “supporters.”
I am tired of watching white people continuing to profit off of MY communities' struggles. I have seen too many influencers pretending to care about a marginalized group for a 60-second Instagram video, for a few minutes of fame -- not activism. The lack of education they have when trying to speak out on black issues is one of the many reasons why the black community is further harmed by BLM as a whole. I have been asked by white individuals to help educate them on black struggles and how they can help, but after talking about the issue with some forms of white activism, the “white savior complex” and how they are accidentally silencing black voices, I have been told that I should be grateful or that the things I speak on do not actually happen. Yet, the true allies I speak to understand that they are a part of the problem and they continuously work to end the internalized racism within and go out of their way to educate their racist family members on why black lives matter.
Putting “BLM” and “ACAB” in your bios, or commenting “defund the police” means nothing unless you are willing to put in the work. It is no matter an issue of bringing awareness, but taking action to social justice. If you do not want to be a part of the fight, that is fine, but stop building a false narrative on social media. My life is not a trend. My community's right to live is not a trend, so it needs to stop being treated that way.