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Social Justice TiKTok Is Where Young People Go To Organize

The niche areas of TikTok are probably much better known than the sweeping TikToks on social justice are, but beyond frogtokwitchtok, and even beantok, Gen Z and Millennial users in particular have been using the app to raise awareness for several issues in our society, particularly over the last year or so. Whether through humor or just straight facts, TikTokers are using their videos to keep viewers focused and motivated to create change and inform others. 

@arbacn

we’re the generation of change

♬ original sound - aisha

Some of these TikToks got creative, with point-of-view narratives set to a remix of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” and “Congratulations” by Post Malone to illustrate just how much injustice exists in society today, starting after last year's resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

@markellandroxan

this is AMERICA. 🇺🇸 #fyp #foryou #EatEmUp #poseathome #InTheHouseparty #tiktokgraduation #cookinghacks #yearbook2020 #wipeitdown

♬ Childish Gambino - This Is America / Post Malone - Congratulations - carneyval

LGBTQ+ users also kept celebrating Pride long after June, whether using humor to advocate for trans acceptance, or showcasing the joy in their love with rainbows galore. 

@bowtieinchicago

You can take our flag but you can never take our pride #fyp #gay #pride

♬ I'm Coming Out - Diana Ross

Even music can be used for a little social justice humor. A trend of TikToks set to “Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book call out people who do what's considered the bare minimum and expect to be lauded for it (because asking for consent shouldn’t earn you a gold medal!). 

@ikingsebastian

the bar is literally gone at this point #IndigenousDay #SharkWeek #foryou #fyp #foryoupage #xyzbca

♬ The Bare Necessities - Hal Leonard
@shoelaces_

that’s the bare minimum-

♬ The Bare Necessities - Hal Leonard

Sexist behavior is condemned by some TikTok users, who refuse to let respect for womxn die out with the #MeToo movement. They show the importance of being an active bystander, believing survivors, and generally being an ally to womxn everywhere. 

@christiantheshowm

I usually be minding my business but with everything going on rn you can never be too sure #fyp#iykyk

♬ Gross 69 used this - 𖤐 Dirt 𖤐
@waveornowave

I'm scared for my life every time I report harassment but go off I guess 🙃 #sexualharassment #metoo #metoomovement #biologist #construction #mysoginy

♬ come get ur mans - HispanicAttacc

With the surge of Black Lives Matter protests, Black people and BLM allies have taken to the app to keep the movement going. Black TikTokers often used humor to articulate their experiences, while BLM allies educate with metaphors to help those who benefit from privilege understand. 

@jazmynjw

Literally my life in corporate America #siliconevalley #blackatwork #comedy

♬ original sound - Jazmyn W
@emillennial

#leftiesrule and #blacklivesmatter

♬ original sound - dexbefunny

Of course, essential workers are having a ball with TikTok as well, whether it’s a fast food worker poking fun at their own job, or having respect for the USPS (the backbone of this country, tbh). With last summer's struggles, it sure needed a little TikTok love. 

@kimmieemooree

when you’re an essential worker but your job mainly consists of you bagging 200 chips a day #chilislife #fyp #thankyoucoronavirus #quarantinelife

♬ original sound - Mikaela Luv
And as vaccines finally became available – and COVID anti-vaxxers became more vocal – Gen Z worked to convince other users to do the right thing and protect their neighbors, through true education and a little bit of anti-vax shaming. 
@trashling

hello moderna i am available for hire as a Vaccine Influencer :) use my code FAUCI10 for your 10% discount! #covid #vaccine #fyp #foryoupage

♬ Get Vaccinated - ashling
@soogia1

You can add lyrically inept to to your long list of off putting personality traits. #getvaccinated #endthepandemic #Im_a_vaccine_hoochie

♬ original sound - Soogia

A lot of the uglier sides of society have been exposed – or perhaps, further exposed – over the last couple of years. If we can laugh off some of the stress and inform each other with TikTok, then please, post away!

Janae McKenzie is a junior at the University of Missouri, where she majors in Arts & Culture Magazine Journalism. She is a Her Campus Editorial Intern for Summer 2020. On the clock, Janae loves writing and editing content about where entertainment media and the real world meet. Off the clock, she loves watching cartoons, breaking out in song and drinking Diet Coke.
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