Performative Activism: The Masks of Support for African American Causes

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of people and organizations claiming to support African American causes for the sake of appearance, public relations, or to stay in line with the current cultural zeitgeist. This type of activism is often referred to as performative activism, as it is more about show and less about real action and impact.

Performative activism is not limited to individuals; corporations, political figures, and even Hollywood producers have also been known to engage in this behavior. For example, a company may release a statement or advertisement showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement while simultaneously engaging in practices that harm the African American community, such as promoting gentrification (how many houses in South LA does one need?) or failing to hire a diverse workforce and promote to the big table.

Similarly, politicians may publicly declare their support for African American causes, (Im always amazed at the way people talk in front of me) but when it comes to policies and voting records, their actions often fall short of their words. They may not support legislation that would benefit the African American community, or they may vote against bills that would help address systemic racism and inequality.

In Hollywood, producers may cast more diverse actors and make socially conscious movies, but behind the scenes, they may still engage in practices that harm the African American community, such as promoting the stereotypical portrayal of black characters or failing to provide equal pay and opportunities for black talent.

Performative Activism detracts from real action and impact.

The problem with performative activism is that it undermines the efforts of genuine activists and detracts from the importance of real action and impact. When people engage in performative activism, they may receive praise and positive media attention, but they are not actually making a meaningful difference in the lives of African Americans.

Moreover, performative activism can also be harmful because it can create false expectations and a sense of complacency. If people believe that merely declaring support for a cause is enough, they may not take the necessary steps to understand and address the underlying issues.

In conclusion, it is important to recognize and call out performative activism for what it is: a mask that hides a lack of genuine commitment to African American causes. If we want to create real and lasting change, we must be willing to do the hard work of taking action, supporting policies and initiatives that will make a difference, and holding ourselves and others accountable for our words and actions.


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