Waughtal: Performative activism too often does more harm than good

Haley Waughtal

Hey, performative activists. 

You’re selfish. 

With the pressure from society to be active in the fight for civil rights, gay rights and women’s rights performative activism has been on the rise.Performative activism is the act of preaching but not doing. People who want the attention and good attitude from others for fighting for these rights, but not actually doing the work, have plagued social media.

The Black Lives Matter movement was big over the summer of 2020. 

Performative activists worked hard during this time. The small black squares that were posted on insta did so much for the movement. 

Just kidding.The black squares pushed actual information down in timelines and hid them. Those posts could not be seen because everyone was posting measly little black squares.

Need some examples of performative activism? There was music artist Madison Beer, who posed on top of a car behind a Black Lives Matter protest for her Instagram in summer 2020. And those basic reposts I see of fast fashion infographics but the use of the fast fashion app Shein over the summer in 2021. 

The basic action of performative activism does not help. Just because you want an aesthetically pleasing account and use these battles as social trends but don’t want to actually do the work is so unbelievably idiotic. 

Using the social injustices that happen for your personal gain is hurtful to that community and the people fighting for those rights. 

These so-called activists spend too much time trying to cancel those who have no interest in learning and educating themselves on these social topics, ultimately pushing the movement back. You are not getting anything done and you are forcing people to care who don’t have any interest. 

A big part of performative activism stems from the feeling that white people get where they think it’s their time to shine, also known as a white savior mentality. 

As white people, we should instead amplify, not silence Black voices. Too often in history Black voices were silenced about their own issues in favor of white voices. Same with all people of color. 

Want to really help? Then celebrate people of color. Donate. Support the activists spreading awareness.