Stop the performative activism

In the electronic age, news spreads like wildfire. Social media has taken over as the younger generation’s “news source,” often spreading biased information about the latest stories. This provokes a recurring trend that has proven to do more harm than good, jumping on the bandwagon and acting out of bad faith because of an ulterior motive rather than believing in the cause that you’re speaking for.

Due to the latest trend of being a “social justice warrior” many people repost stories on their social media to garner attention or align with the “good Samaritan.” Furthermore, the same people who preach allyship condemn those who do not share the same stories on their social media, while themselves don’t actually take any action to help those in need. And how much help could it really be to spread a post that is often biased or not even posted by a credible source?

Those who frame themselves as an ally and use their platform to post such stories are actually doing the opposite of what they preach online, as their stream of posts often overpower the posts of the people who are actually afflicted by these tragedies or provide resources to those who actually wish to be a solution to the problem. The lines are far too blurred between performative activism and true allyship. It is imperative that people start to focus on uplifting the voices of marginalized voices, activists and real organizations that dedicate their lives and time to spreading real awareness

It is far too often that these people will facetiously exploit social movements to try to appear more in touch and politically aware than they actually are, in hopes of accumulating social capital. If you tie your name to an issue by posting these stories to your page, make sure you follow it up with action, as anyone can take a second to share a story, but what really matters is donating your time and/or money to actually aid those in need. Change doesn’t happen in an instant.

The issue behind performative activism lies within our culture. We pressure everyone so hard to be perfect, to be moral, to do what is right, when in reality we are flawed, selfish people who are bound to make mistakes. It’s human nature. Using social justice issues that are evermore prominent right now as an excuse to bully or cancel influencers online and even the people you know is not advancing the causes and movement in any way.

We must be able to step away from having these conversations until we start holding ourselves accountable. Activism has to go with actually doing the work to support marginalized groups. Otherwise, it’s performative. Doing certain actions does not make you an “activist” nor does it make you morally superior, and strong opinions do not make you “wise.” Don’t showcase your allyship when Black History Month, Pride Month or Hispanic Heritage Month rolls around but instead be a supporter year round and not when it is simply convenient or when you feel social pressure to do so.