Been on Instagram today? It appears the app lost power. Rolling blackouts. I’m sure a lot of these folks are well-intentioned. Our own company posted it, and I know that our guys are genuine here. But it also feels like many are jumping on a trend because they don’t know what else to do, and they don’t care enough to do the research to find actionable, impactful ways to contribute. And perceptive people are seeing through it:
i know for a fact half the people on my instagram feed have NOT signed any petitions or shared any links or useful information. A BLACK IMAGE ISNT GOING TO DO ANYTHING IF YOU DONT SHARE ANY LINKS. remember this is not an instagram trend, this is a real issue u need to help with.
— ellie #bIm (@bitedownrango) June 2, 2020
My Instagram feed is full of black outs. Like I don’t think you guys did what you thought you did.
— TM (@agnauraqtweets) June 2, 2020
From my Instagram story bc I really can’t get behind this whole blackout pic.twitter.com/Jqhd8lS1kg
— uu (@uugochii) June 2, 2020
Having said that, this is exactly why I haven’t posted anything aside from a funny video of Godfrey roasting me for being super white. I’m afraid that anything I say will come off as insincere, that I’ll be seen as virtue signaling or white knighting. A lot of these posts are like showing up for attendance to say “here!” and then leaving for the day. I won’t go so far as to say it’s meaningless, but I do think there are much more impactful things that people can do than post a black square on their Instagram.
There is nothing I love more than when cause tourists get called out for their cursory efforts. We talked about this on the podcast yesterday:
Again, I’m sure a lot of people posting black squares are also donating to bail funds for protestors, signing petitions, and/or calling their local representatives. But if I know social media as well as I think I do, there are far more people taking a screenshot of a black screen, posting it on Instagram, patting themselves on the back, and unrolling their yoga mats for a home pilates sesh. Checkmate, day over, good job good effort.
If you want to do more than that, the Obama Foundation website has compiled a good list of ways to get real. I would also point people towards Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between The World And Me, which illustrates what it’s like to grow up black in this country through some of the best writing I’ve ever read.
And finally, this site helps you figure out who your congressional rep is. You can give their office a call and voice your thoughts for change. I just tried this with Jerry Nadler for the 10th district in NY. You basically just leave a voicemail for some comment box, and I have my doubts that it will EVER be heard, but might as well try as many avenues as we can.