Should I post a black square today?
If you’ve been on social media today you might have seen a flood of black squares for #BlackOutTuesday. In the tradition of social media, it might feel like a damned if you post and damned if you don’t kind of situation. Here’s a breakdown of why you should post and why you shouldn’t post a black square today.
We are stronger together and there is power in millions of people around the world sharing one message of outrage and support. A sense of solidarity. Many of us are feeling outraged and powerless during a time when we’re not only facing a pandemic, but also the fact that institutionalised racism has been going on for far too long. The murder of George Floyd in broad daylight by a police officer sparked a fire none of us can ignore (that also has been building up for a long, long time).
We are angry and we want change. If we’ve already donated to worthy causes then this is another way of adding our voice to the choir that will hopefully be too loud to shut down.
Or not to post
In the age of the internet, our opinions are influenced by what we see online and during the lockdown, many of us have been online more than ever. Can we clearly distinguish between our opinions and those of the people we see and follow online? How much of what I’m saying is regurgitated from what I read on Twitter or saw on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or Facebook? Am I posting because everyone else is posting? Would I still stand if I stood alone?
There’s a reason the term ‘slacktivism’ has been around for some time. Posting online makes us feel like we’re doing something without having to really put too much on the line (pun unintended).
If you want to post because everyone else is posting don’t do it.
The problem with a movement being made palatable is also that every brand and influencer can now jump on the bandwagon. It’s no longer standing up to the establishment, it’s now a part of the establishment.
Also if this is something you’ve never posted about or spoken about then why would you post about it now?
What is posting a black square really going to change? Will you still be posting about this in three months when it’s no longer the thing everyone is posting about? Will your voice still be heard?
Most importantly: Will you follow through in real life? Or does what happen online stay online?
In the end, of course, it is up to you. Make your decision and allow others to make theirs. This is an extremely difficult time, especially for members of the black community. Listen when you can and speak up when you can.