The Black Lives Matter protests appeared with a bang in late May after the unjust murder of George Floyd from police brutality. The movement had mass coverage all over the news. It is a strong topic that is now, unfortunately, fading from the media as of late — not being seen as much on the news or being shared on social media.
Yubi Lojewski, WSU Black Student Union member, is experienced in hosting and facilitating diversity workshops on campus. She said performative activism is the most probable reason as to why BLM has fallen from the news in the first place.
Performative activism is when people passively participate out of social pressure rather than genuine care for the cause. Performative activism means lacking interest in the movement and participating for the looks. People should be confident in themselves that they are not making this mistake by only sharing some things about the protests. People should genuinely care about BLM and other social justice movements.
Keiley Hampton-Pantoja, BSU’s public relations coordinator, said that an important thing to remember when trying to continue this movement is what it is really about: Black lives.
Check in on the people of color in your life and put their opinion on the topic first. Care about their voice and statements first — remembering that their opinion is the most reliable on this topic.
“Social media is a great tool — sharing any posts you see related to Black Lives Matter, taking time to donate,” Hampton-Pantoja said. “Continue to do small things and small practices to benefit Black people every day.”
People can take the initiative to find places to donate through simple Google searches. Another way to support people of color is to purchase from Black-owned businesses to support their growth.
Hampton-Pantoja advised others to continue protesting, advocating and being there.
However, stay mindful that your voice is not becoming louder than the voice of people of color. Know when to hold back and stay silent when a Black person speaks on their experiences or is attempting to educate.
“Try to focus on your mental health and put that first,” Hampton-Pantoja said, referring to people of color. “Make sure that is a priority because I know a lot of this stuff can be heavy.”
It is extremely important for white people to do the right thing in their daily lives when facing racism, social injustice, or racially insensitive statements by correcting it.
“I think it’s great if people post about things on their social media pages, but if you’re going to post things on your social media pages, you have to also be willing to hold people accountable in your everyday life … you have to be willing to check that,” Lojewski said.
The discomfort of correcting family, friends and coworkers should be welcomed for the greater good. It may be difficult to correct, but the comfort of people of color is more important than the difficulty of correcting racial injustice.
Hampton-Pantoja said if we can all do the work and commit to the movement by advocating for the attention, the possibility of getting active in the media again is very likely.
Lojewski said, “it is a movement and not a moment,” and not to let it end here — to keep the passion alive so the topic will be strong.