The George Floyd protests against police brutality has been escalating in America, which has resulted in Black Lives Matter gathering a lot of momentum as more and more prominent voices are sharing their support for the movement. One particularly notable demonstration of support has been Blackout Tuesday.
Blackout Tuesday began with the music industry sharing black boxes on social media as a gesture of solidarity while raising awareness about systemic racism and police brutality, and quickly snowballed into a viral online campaign.
The GOAT team talk about Black Lives Matter and the protests over George Floyd’s death on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:
But as well-intentioned as Blackout Tuesday is (especially compared to some other tone-deaf shout outs), there has been a number of negative consequences to the social media campaign that may be detrimental to the George Floyd protests against police brutality and Black Lives Matter.
As musicians, celebrities, and people with large followings started promoting Blackout Tuesday, the campaign quickly snowballed and soon black tiles appeared on every social media platform with the Black Lives Matter hashtag.
However, the use of Black Lives Matter hashtags caused important content and on-the-ground information for protesters to be buried under a sea of useless black tiles.
Given how important social media is for activists trying to organise demonstrations and to keep up to date on police movements, the Blackout Tuesday campaign was incredibly counter-productive on that front, forcing people to inform others to stop using the Black Lives Matter hashtag and to use Blackout Tuesday instead.
The Blackout Tuesday campaign, as well meaning as it is, has also given rise to the question of how to properly support Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd protests against police brutality.
Posting a black tile with a Blackout Tuesday hashtag doesn’t really count as activism. Anyone can do that. What’s more important is how to properly follow through. Real progress and lasting systemic change on addressing racism and police brutality doesn’t happen on social media, no matter how many black tiles are posted.
If you really want to do something to properly support Black Lives Matter, you can do things like donating to important funds and causes, actively advocating for anti-racism by volunteering, educating yourself on the issue, and actively supporting the movement by learning and spreading the information with friends and family.
It’s evidently clear that the racism and police brutality problem won’t be solved by our world leaders so it’s up to the people to do their part to instigate proper change. Posting black tiles as part of Blackout Tuesday is nice but just the first step of the journey.
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