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Performative Activism Does More Harm Than Good

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’d know about the hate crimes that are happening against the asian and black community. The sad thing is that these are not isolated events. They have happened before, and they will continue to happen unless we change our ways of activism.


The general trend I’ve noticed with events like these is that people share as many resources as they can all over social media, but after the moment is gone, these issues aren’t talked about anymore. Maybe the event is over, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an underlying issue of racism and white supremacy overall.


I’m definitely no stranger to this tactic. If I hear something on the news, I’m the first to share it on my Instagram story so that I can raise awareness about these crimes and check in with my friends who may be affected. However, I’ve realized that if we don’t advocate for change continuously, nothing in our current system will change.


It’s not enough that people share things on their Instagram stories. It’s not enough that people provide a resources link in their social media bio. Furthermore, it’s definitely not enough for people to post a black or yellow square on their Instagram (posting a colored square will actually clog the timeline and push down important information, so it does more harm than good).


I’m not trying to call people out, because I literally do the same thing on my Instagram. I’m just writing this knowing that something needs to change about our activism. It needs to be more long-lasting. There needs to be constant conversations about racism. We need to constantly check in with ourselves and our unconscious biases. We need to participate in hard conversations with our friends and family about their unchecked biases.


One thing I’ve learned is to put your money where your mouth is. I think it benefits communities greatly if we donate to the organizations that help to fight against racism, such as BLM and AAPI organizations. That’s definitely something I want to do consistently, just so I know I’m making more of an impact in my community. Hopefully with people getting vaccinated, it can be safe for protests to take place. That’s also something I want to get involved in.


What I’ve realized is that if we don’t drastically change our patterns, long-lasting change won’t happen. We need to get uncomfortable and really check our biases to make sure we are not adding fuel to the fire. We need to be more consistent and intentional with what we believe in.


Hearing about these events can be mentally taxing. I know I felt really upset after hearing about the shooting in Atlanta and in Boulder last week. I think it’s really important to take social media breaks and take care of ourselves too. We can advocate for change and take care of ourselves at the same time.


Most importantly, this is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s okay to take it slow. Fixing the system is going to take a long time, but great things start small, and it’s the journey that counts.



Hi! My name is Sahithi, and I’m a data science major! I love to paint, play the violin, go shopping, and hang out with my friends!
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