What Does Genuine Allyship Really Look Like?
In the era of social media, social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate have given rise to a new form of activism in the digital sphere. On every platform, you can find people with links in their bio to donation sites and critical news updates, if not that, a hashtag or series of emojis to symbolize support of the movement and solidarity with those negatively affected by systemic oppression.
However, the quick access and ease of the digital sphere has also given rise to another less assertive, more self-centered form of activism.
Performative Activism, also known as Slacktivism, is a form of activism that involves little to no effort, done with the intent to improve one's social image rather than show genuine support. In other words, with performative activism, the priority lies in appearing to be an ally for social praise rather than actually being an ally and engaging in the larger conversation.
So besides intent, what makes performative activism different from allyship on social media? Genuine allyship on social media involves the amplifying of BIPOC voices and the sharing of critical resources for those in need, such as donation links and petitions that can be signed. For those who consider themselves genuine allies of a cause, social media is critical for circulating information updates and news that mainstream media drops when it is no longer in their interest to cover.
Concerning those who engage in performative activism, social media is a place to give a once in a blue moon post about their righteous dedication to a cause, rather than sharing educational posts in their stories or highlights, or shedding light on events and situations that the major media may fail to cover entirely, but are still happening and affecting those who are disenfranchised.
Often enough, genuine allyship exists beyond the sphere of social media, involving the acknowledgment of privilege, and if one is able, participation in local events ran in support of the greater movement. Although social media is wonderful for the sharing of critical information and resources, no activism is more genuine than the one that involves your local community, where you can directly act and call for change at a local level to help make the first steps towards progress.
Sources Viewed/Used/Alluded To
Image (Black Square from #BlackoutTuesday, an event many activists critique as an example of performative activism, as it risked drowning out important information being spread in hashtags)
Melanie Moyer '22,