The last two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for Black people. I wake up in complete disbelief that in 2020, we are still enduring the hate and injustices our ancestors faced. I’d like to believe they fought and died so that we would not have to go through this level of racism. However, here we are. We’re only midway through the year and already we’ve experienced the negligent and wrongful death of Breonna Taylor. We witnessed officers kneel on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he muttered, “I can’t breathe.” And we saw innocent Ahmaud Arbery be gunned down by white “vigilantes” while jogging.
A lot of allies have asked, “what can I do?” “How can I help?” What happened to George, Breonna, and Ahmaud are not isolated incidents. There are centuries of documented racism. My belief is that you’ve either choose to ignore it, acknowledged it and did nothing, acknowledged it and did something, or agreed with it. At this point, I can’t educate you on something that has been going on since before we were both born. Google is free.
So when a group of non-black social media influencers took to their platforms to show us their idea of solidarity, I was completely disgusted. By painting their faces black in the name of the Black Lives Matters movement, the clueless gesture proved how tone-deaf the world really is to the black experience.
User Tania Saleh posted a photo of her tanned skin and an afro with the quote, “I wish I was black, today more than ever… Sending my love and full support to the people who demand equality and justice for all races anywhere in the world.”
She concluded that the inspiration for this photo came from a montage she found on Pinterest. The image is eerily similar to a picture of Amara LaNegra, cast member of Love and Hip Hop. LaNegra commented on the post saying, “Take this shit down Now! Don’t use my f*cking face for your shit!”
Influencer Souhila Ben Lachhab posted a dual-complexion photo with the caption, “We’re one
Just because we are black on the outside, doesn’t mean that we are black on the inside.
Racist people are the true black heart ones. They are black on the inside, though they do not know it.✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽”
Weird flex, but okay.
Believe it or not, there are a slew of people following this trend of “solidarity” to the BLM Movement. While some have taken heed to the backlash and removed their photos, others opted to make their pages private so that we can’t witness their ignorant, closeted racism.
I know I said I wasn’t going to exhaust the energy needed to educate others on what they could do to stand with black people, but there clearly needs to be a Racism 101 course taught by Instagram University. Partner that class with a Systematic Racism 102a and Black Face Is Still Wrong 102b course. We’re tired! In 2020, how does the world not know this is wrong?
One person took to the gram to explain just how misguided these influencers are.
Saint Hoax is a socio-political activist that is not afraid to use their platform to educate the ill-informed. They wrote, “Many “influencers” have been sharing photos of themselves wearing blackface as an act of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Even after receiving backlash, some are still refusing to take down their posts. How can you “spread awareness” about a subject you know so little about? If you genuinely care about a cause, the least you can do is educate yourself about it. It’s infuriating that we still need to educate people about the racist and painful history of blackface. We shouldn’t be having this conversation in 2020.”
Let’s be real. Black lives have always been a trend. They want our rhythm, but not our blues. Wishing you were black is a laughable request. Black people have spent so many years adjusting to racial injustices. What the world is witnessing now is a revolt because we are tired. You want to be black, but you wouldn’t survive a day without your privilege, something we’ve lived without since birth.
If you want to be an ally, educate yourself the way you educated yourself on how to highlight and contour. We are so tired of our lives being the next big trend. This is serious. If you are going to stand with us and fight for our basic human decency, do some research so that you’re not contributing to the problem.