On Tuesday, a social media phenomenon known as #blackouttuesday took place. It consists of a dark screen with a Black Power fist silhouette if one looks closely. Phenomenon like that is known as virtue signaling, which some might perceive as inauthentic outrage has taken place. Even if one does it with good intention, it is not the only thing one can do to express their outrage. Below is 7 things you can do besides #blackoutuesday.
1. ACTUALLY USE THE RESOURCES YOU’RE SHARING
“It’s great to have a resource, but if you’re not using the resource—if you’re not educating yourself, if you’re not practicing what you preachthen it doesn’t matter, in my opinion,” says Maya Siegel, social media manager of intersectional feminist collective Gen Z Girl Gang. So sharing a list of Black-owned businesses and donating to them and other organizations that combat injustices.
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF
“An ally should always take it upon themself to stay educated on the issues they care about,” says artist, designer, and activist Uzo Ngwu. “You can post about the harms of racism all you want, but we won’t achieve much unless we engage with resources that help us understand how to dismantle those harmful and oppressive systems.” Following Black educators and organizations and taking online courses on the Black experience is something to think about.
3. CHECK IN ON YOUR BLACK FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES
“Social media is an amazing way to increase awareness, but it doesn’t substitute being there for your community,” says Siegel. “You have to be there day in, and day out. You have to be asking your friends and challenging yourself to take away the biases you might hold and just being there as a friend, regardless of if they’re going through something or not.”
4. REMOVE YOUR COMMENTARY WHEN IT’S NOT NEEDED
“A lot of resources ask that allies decentralize themselves from an issue that doesn’t pertain to them,” says Ngwu. “An ally could practice what they preach by being intentional about whose words they share. Are they just sharing whatever they find? Or are they seeking Black voices in the movement to amplify and uplift?”
5. IF YOU CAN, DONATE
Several national organizations accepting donations right now include The Bail Project, LGBTQ Fund, Black Lives Matter, and Democratic Socialists of America. Bail Funds highlights local options for donations, as does ActBlue.
6. ACCEPT CRITICISM
“Sometimes you’re going to say or do the wrong thing,” says Ngwu. “As an ally, when you mess up, you should accept criticism with an open mind and open heart, forgive yourself and move on. Even if someone comes to you in anger, don’t immediately get defensive. Reflect and ask yourself why they might be angry and what you can do to fix it.”
7. VOTE, AND NOT JUST IN NOVEMBER
Barack Obama pointed out that protests raise awareness about corruption and systemic inequality, but policy change is ultimately made by making your voice heard in elections.
“And yes, we should be fighting to make sure that we have a president, a Congress, a U.S. Justice Department, and a federal judiciary that actually recognize the ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society and want to do something about it,” Obama wrote. “But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.”