If You Lost Your Phone, How Would You Prove Your "Activism"?

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


 If You Lost Your Phone, How Would You Prove Your “Activism”?
by Jolie Brownell

It’s been a couple of months, let’s check-in. 


You posted the black box. You flooded the #blacklivesmatter hashtag. Fuck. You deleted your post. You reposted the black box but instead wrote #blackouttuesday. There, you did it right. “We are amplifying Black voices,” you told yourself, “we are listening.” To what? All I saw were little black boxes. 


All of my pettiness aside, we’re still new to this, right? Three months ago, many of us, came out publicly with our support for #BlackLivesMatter for the first time. It only took a pandemic, but we’re happy you’re finally here. Anyway, it’s been a minute since the black boxes, so let’s check-in. What’s happened since? 


It’s the “Activist” In the Bio for Me


Honestly, I am not here to talk about your beach or brunch posts with captions of “arrest the cops that killed Breona Taylor.” Or the single black box in your feed that strikingly sticks out among the aesthetic photos of your wanna-be perfect life. There are plenty of incredible voices that have already commented about how hurtful, dehumanizing, and ridiculous these kinds of performative posts are. What I want to talk about is the fact that some of y'all really thought this was enough. Box checked. You’re an activist now. Added #activist to your bio. Like LOL, what? 


So in all honesty, if you lost your phone today, how would you prove your “activism”? What else have you done besides post #blacklivesmatter? Incredible books like Stamped: Racism Antiracism, and You and How to Be an Anti-racist by Ibram X. Kendi, and So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo have sold out, but have you actually read them? Have you been educating yourself? Radicalizing yourself? Confronting the problematic sides of yourself? Calling your peers out? Having uncomfortable but productive conversations? Calling your senators? Pushing your university to take students of color seriously? Using your passions to make political statements? Using your privilege to uplift marginalized voices? Protesting without centering yourself? Registering to vote? Voting in the interests and investments of those most marginalized? 


It’s been 3 months since the black boxes, and honestly, I don’t really care about what your feed looks like. (But hopefully you’re following more BIPOC people.) More important things to reflect on are questions like How you’ve been decolonizing your own mind? and How have you been doing “the work”?


Activism Most Likely Won’t Make You Go Viral


If it feels like I’m calling you out, it’s because I am (lovingly so). Because the truth is that no true activist work will be found in the performative. Too many of you want to call yourself activists because of all the hype, when in reality, activist work isn't some bandwagon you can hop on. You can’t get credit for doing nothing.


The truth is that doing activist work most likely won’t make you go viral—maybe doing performative TikTok shit might—BUT the point is that we are in a REVOLUTION. WE are the revolution! So let’s learn how to do this right, or at least not performatively. 


Social media was created to reflect your life, interests, and what matters to you, so let your posts be reflective of the real-life work you're doing and not just some facade to make yourself look woke. We see right through that, honey, and it’s not a good look on you.


The Revolution Will Not Be Performative. PERIOD!


Post a Comment