We are living in an era of social media sensationalism and systemized racism. Alone, the two form an extreme inconvenience, causing nothing but social stratification and discrimination. But together they can be dangerous.
Every time a black person in America dies at the hands of an official who was meant to keep them alive, an official who very well won’t be convicted of their murder, the internet outrages and sensationalism pours from the phones and news outlets like a storm. For that fixed moment in time, everyone cares. The whole world recognizes the loss of another mother, sister, and daughter. Their deaths become by-products of a movement that lives to serve the very Americans that we are killing. Their names become engraved in digital tombstones, hashtags that seem to fade in and out of the mainstream. Unbeknownst to most, this drift of “trendiness” that comes and goes as easily as their lives, is more dangerous to the movement than anything. Our issues should not be momentary and fleeting.
Is it me or did they just stop talking about all those missing girls
— Skinny Ahk (@nardyynardd) June 27, 2017
Why have we stopped talking about Sandra Bland? #SayHerName
— em (@emmxlxu) August 30, 2015
What happened to #SandraBland as soon as it wasn’t the biggest news story out there? What happened when hundreds of Black and Latina girls went missing in DC and everybody just stopped talking about it? What happens every single time there’s an unjust death? The perpetrator walks away and Black America takes to Twitter and Instagram and Facebook to push for an agenda that becomes twisted in the midst of social media trends and romanticism. It’s not enough anymore to go on Twitter and tweet #SandraBland just because it’s what’s trending. It’s not enough to sit on the sidelines and wait for a hashtag to come around to care about this issue.
We become numb to the pain of injustice and in turn, the movement fades away. We become background noise, succumbing to the norms of the mainstream.
The movement isn’t built to be a trend or a fad. It’s built to abolish a system of racism that has not only worked to oppress marginalized groups of people but has also killed. To disassemble such an elaborate structure requires more than being the number one trending thing on twitter, it requires more than just a hashtag, and it requires more than a spotlight of 15 minutes of fame.
Black America is dying and it’s time for us to wake up. It’s time for the movement to be more than just a hashtag, more than just a tweet or a picture.We don’ need any more hashtags and we don’t want 15 minutes of fame. We want for our brothers and sisters to come home every day and be protected by the country that they put their time, money and faith in. We don’t need another hashtag, we need justice.