Leave it to social media influencers to do the most during a literal revolution.
Since the murder of George Floyd nearly a month ago, protests have not let up. These protests are completely warranted and necessary in order to make a permanent change to the systemic racism that is still very prevalent to this day. However, that is not quite what I’ll be talking about today.
Like any widespread movement, the BLM movement is at risk of becoming a social media trend. For some people, it already has. Countless videos have gone viral showing people at the protests more concerned about getting a good picture than the issue at hand. Influencersinthewild has posted plenty of these embarrassing moments. On both Twitter and Instagram, this account posts all kinds of influencer fails and has racked up millions of followers on IG alone. While social media is important in spreading information and resources, it can also be detrimental when activism becomes performative.
Hashtags and Instagram challenges can only go so far if there are no actions to go along with them. It is important that non-BIPOC are learning to be an ally in a way that is effective and does not distract from the movement. These people really missed the mark.
If you choose to attend a protest as an ally that’s great. It is extremely important that people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds stand with the black community during this time. However, if you are showing up to a protest to take photos of yourself, a person privileged enough to not have to fear for their lives in front of police, you are clearly not there for the right reasons. While you may believe in justice and police reform, that means nothing if you are using your platform to make this about you.
This is not to say there is no place for non-BIPOC at the protests. I think everyone that is comfortable with attending and believes in the message should be there to show support. However, you need to keep the camera down, or at least not pointed at you. And please don’t do what this guy did and make another protestor take a picture for you.
Videos like these along with countless others are truly embarrassing and tone-deaf. I challenge the influencers in question to take these viral videos mocking them as a lesson to reevaluate their privilege. This is not a social media aesthetic, this is peoples’ lives.
Cover photo: Dazed Digital