BLM: A Look at Performative Protests on Social Media

Words: Emily Hollwedel

In the midst of a virus’ wrath, the nation reveals another deep, old wound that has been with it since the beginning: racism. 

Within the span of a month, three names— maybe more— have flashed across television and smartphone screens across the country: Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. And most recently, George Floyd. The common thread between these people is that they were all black people, unjustly killed because of their race. 

This is not a new phenomenon. There are countless names and faces, which initiated the Black Lives Matter organization: devoted to combating racism and white supremacy. Most recently, BLM has been calling for justice in the case of George Floyd, whose life was taken by a police officer in Minnesota. Now, the movement has been thrust directly into the public eye. And now more than ever, people are taking notice. 

In Howard County, a number of students have been posting informative, detailed information about how to help. From petitions, to donations, to resources that can help tackle bias in their own communities, posts have flooded the feeds of the nation— Centennial is no exception. 

Yet at this point it is important to reflect on if we are solely doing this for the public eye. Voices must be heard; however, simply posting a picture and not actually taking action against racism in the country via petitions, donations, and so on does not make that change. It is also essential to reflect on what we are posting and how it affects others. By reposting traumatic videos of Floyd’s death, someone is revisiting an experience that brings so many people pain. There are other things we can do to help make a difference. 

The goal should be to make a change, and not to spread anguish. We must work to stop these tragedies from happening rather than leaving a post and pretending that is all that can be done. For more information visit https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ 

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