For the Culture, or For the Clicks?

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E'Myah Jones, Staff Writer

Whether one believes it or not, it is a known idea American society has for generations been divided on topics of race and identity. As the school system has kept American children within a bubble with learning about European historical figures and their contributions towards the states, having banned certain fabrics and prints from schools as it is seemed to be related to “gang activity,” and hundreds of students sharing their experiences of racism and microaggressions within their lives, it has become evident that there is undoubtedly bias within our country’s moral code that advances the split between those of different backgrounds.

 

Civil rights has become a recent topic in American society, just short of about 60 years has it been taken into account by those who are not considered minorities. However, as each decade progressed, more and more people began to settle for the idea of living a tranquil life alongside a person of a different skin color, racism itself will have never stopped; it will have just become well hidden. With cases such as the Central Park Five, where 5 African American boys  around the ages of 12-15 were wrongfully convicted of the assault of a white woman, thus spending 6-13 years in prison, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Emmit Till, Quawan Charles, and countless others, the Black Lives Matter Movement had come in full force. Many are just now starting to realize the reality that many African Americans undergo, and because the black experience is so painfully unique, the movement has grown in masses, with people of a variety of races supporting it. 

 

Though here is my question: Where were all these people when the movement first started? When we were told that we were being over dramatic? When we were told “they should have just compiled?” When our pain was seen as nothing more than a comedic joke? In the past Black Lives Matter was seen as a waste of time, now it’s an “aesthetic” that white alternative teenagers scream to rebel against their parents to seem edgy and cool. There have been multiple Tik Toks in which a random kid will act like Gen Z’s living in a Young Adult novel like the Hunger Games and make a POV taking on a white savior complex. Perhaps their motives were genuine, but guarantee that when or if a revolution does happen, it will be led by those who have been most affected by it, hurting and angry, not some kid who thinks they’re Katniss Everdeen. Along with this, there have been many influencers, companies, or even regular people posting a simple black screen on their Instagram pages or put Black Lives Matter in their bio and claim themselves to be allies, but will never listen to anything the community has to say or will pick and choose what they’ll support when it comes to black issues. And of course, there are those who have absolutely no idea what the movement even stands for, but will support it for the sake of it’s “trendiness.”

 

This isn’t to take away from those who are true allies, those who sign petitions, donate to victims, or even go and march in the streets. In fact, they are deeply appreciated and exemplify what the movement was truly meant to be. However, it is extremely telling when a movement that has been despised and judged for so long has now become a mainstream trend that has lost its meaning due to young adult “white savior” complexes. Why is it that when it was those who were hurting supporting the movement, it was stupid, irrational, dismissed, but as soon as non-black people join the movement, it is now cool, trendy, and rebellious? No matter what, it will always come back to our country’s unknowing, or perhaps knowing, racial biases.