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Beyond Instagram Activism

“Performative wokeness.” You know, the kind of “activism” white people do while scrolling Instagram late at night from bed. A bed we sleep in without a shred of fear that cops will bust through our front door and massacre us. “I stand with #.” Is to post to stand? If to post is not to stand, who “should” post? And when? And what? And if I don’t post, have I revealed myself to be someone who is on the sidelines? The discomfort here is good.

White people’s comfort is literally why we’re here. Millions and millions and millions of black and brown bodies and spirits have been sacrificed, are still daily sacrificed, “in service” of our comfort. It is one of the central premises of this country’s founding. As such, we must work steadfastly to de-prioritize white comfort. This is key to white people’s anti-racism work.

As for the question: but do we post? If a post feels hollow to you, it probably is. If it feels like it isn’t enough, that’s because it isn’t. Go ahead and post—and be ready to welcome the self and external criticism of your “performance.” Be prepared to listen, to learn, and to do much, much deeper and larger work than posting.

MEG SULLIVAN, from “Going Beyond Instagram Activism,” The Lilith Blog.