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Coppell Student Media

Staff Editorial: We are tired of your performative activism

Beyond the hashtags
As+information+on+current+events+is+easily+accessible+online%2C+young+people+have+begun+taking+part+in+a+trend+of+performative+activism.+The+Sidekick+editorial+board+believes+that+we+as+a+society+have+become+desensitized+to+injustices+around+the+world+due+to+surface+level+information+spread+rapidly+through+social+media.+Minori+Kunte.
Minori Kunte
As information on current events is easily accessible online, young people have begun taking part in a trend of performative activism. The Sidekick editorial board believes that we as a society have become desensitized to injustices around the world due to surface level information spread rapidly through social media. Minori Kunte.

As you sit on your bed scrolling through Instagram, you see your friend posted something on their story. You click on the circle at the top of your screen, ready to see what they shared, a cute picture with friends or a scenic venue perhaps?

No, you are greeted by another post about the war between Israel and Palestine. But in place of empathy or grief, you feel nothing and continue scrolling, where you are met with the same post on the next story. 

With the rise of social media, younger generations are beginning to display their opinions on political climates all over the world. For the first time, you can inspire change without being in a position of power and protest without risking your life.

However, what started as positive activism has unveiled its negative consequences. 

#MeToo

#BlackLivesMatter

#Free Britney

At some point or another, you have probably seen these hashtags when scrolling through the endless void of a social media feed. But what do they really mean? What is happening beyond the hashtag?

Unfortunately, this is becoming a question that many cannot answer.

With countless injustices in the world, it feels gratifying to do your part to spread awareness and advocate for change. However, our surface level awareness of the vast amounts of problems makes us understand them even less. The rapid flood of information we receive does not allow us time to fully understand the depths of each problem before a new one occurs. After a certain point this deters us from even trying and leads us to adopt an attitude of indifference. What is the big deal with another attack on Asian Americans that just adds to the insurmountable pile of crimes against people of color?

This is the problem. The mass publishing of informative media has led to widespread desensitization. Our brains cannot process the sheer amount of information we read and the numbers of people who have been wronged. As a result, we have become indifferent to the scale of atrocities surrounding us. 

This desensitization has led to a disregard for the message behind posts and has created a new trend, performative activism. Performative activism is when people repost serious issues simply because they want to fit in or create the appearance of someone who cares when in reality they don’t. This is not only detrimental to their ability to have their own identities but detrimental to the greater issue at large, especially when it concerns the lives of others. 

This looks like the black square trend on Blackout Tuesday during the Black Lives Matter movement where rather than raising awareness, a flood of black squares crowded out Black advocates from sharing resources that would actually come in use to provide support. 

With every like, follow and repost, you are impacting the lives of the people who are actually living through these tragedies. When you continue to buy into the trend, you minimize their experience and their struggles, making it just another conflict that society will forget about once the newest tragedy occurs. In addition, you have no idea whether or not the information you just shared is actually true and more often than not, it isn’t.

The lives of these victims are not a trend that should be tried on and tossed out as soon as a new person shares their struggles. Their darkest moments should not be used as an instrument to gain more social standing. 

To make a bad situation even worse, sometimes issues deemed “less important” take precedence over more serious ones simply because it is easier to handle. Simpler issues are more talked about because they are less tragic. They simply do not require as much emotional stamina as others because they are not perceived as putting a large number of people in danger. 

However, even with crooked versions of it forming through social media, activism is a powerful tool that has inspired mass political movements. People were called out for their behavior in the workplace, conversations about racism, discrimination in this country were addressed on a national level and Britney was freed. 

So click that repost button for issues you think need to be seen, but make sure you do it because you care, not because you are following the masses. Never undervalue the importance of your political presence. We all have the ability to call attention to something that matters. 

Let’s not waste it.

#GoBeyondTheHashtag

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About the Contributors
Minori Kunte
Minori Kunte, Staff Cartoonist
Minori Kunte is a junior and the staff cartoonist for The Sidekick. She spends her time singing for the Madrigals and A Capella. In her free time outside of school, she enjoys painting scenic locations she’s spotted and making vlogs of her vacations for herself and her family to watch. Her favorite movie of all time is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. She enjoys watching Anne With An E and The 100, while snacking on Brookside Acai Dark Chocolate and Skinny Pop. She feels inspired when looking at art made by Anna-Laura Sullivan and Bob Ross. You can contact her at [email protected]

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    FrancescaJan 21, 2024 at 3:12 pm

    Fr

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    Tina PlumleeNov 10, 2023 at 7:10 am

    Excellent

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