The music industry decided to observe Black Out Tuesday yesterday and the act of posting black screens on your social media accounts went viral. Various organizations, brands, and individuals are using the caption #BlackLivesMatter with this picture and while the intention behind it might be good, the black screens are having the opposite effect.
When millions of people post or engage with a blackout image, social media sites’ algorithm places them in the top searches. This means that if you search for #BlackLivesMatter hashtag to get an update on the news, you would see nothing but empty black images floating around. This hides vital information and does little to promote any sort of anti-racism agenda because it just paints a very silent picture of what’s going on.
Right now, there’s a massive need for action. Protests in cities like New York and Minneapolis have taken a violent turn due to police brutality so we need to do a little more than posting blank pictures on our social media.
“We know that’s it no intent to harm but to be frank, this essentially does harm the message,” mental health advocate and Black Lives Matter activist Kenidra Woods posted on Twitter. “We use hashtags to keep people updated. PLS stop using the hashtag for black images!!”
If you type the hashtag, Black Lives Matter, in Instagram’s Explore section, you will get nothing but black screens. This proves that it is quite useless to just observe silence on the matter. Instead, we need to promote anti-racist art and literature, share the opinions of the black community, post pictures of the protests that are leading to severe injuries, and of course, criticize the inaction of the leadership, especially Trump who is hiding inside the White House.