Satire by Jessica de la Paz
On Tuesday, May 2, thousands of students and activists flooded social media with photos of black tiles, the hashtag #blackouttuesday and a caption quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“With all that’s going on, it’s the least I could do,” commented Karen as she browsed through her Amazon account. “I don’t know if I can support the protests, but I know I can at least control my actions. Posting a black tile seems like the best move I can make.”
Many others voiced the same sentiments. Especially as college-aged students return home, many fear the backlash from their families or communities for speaking out against racial injustices at the dinner table.
“My parents even liked my post,” one student said.
“I get uncomfortable talking about race with my parents,” reported Jasmine Bautista. “But at least this way, people on my social media will know that I care about these issues, and that I’m not a racist.”
Indeed, the #blackouttuesday trend has been touted for its incredible ability to maintain the status quo and keep the boat from rocking while still engaging the broader, often white and upper or upper-middle class, audience.
In an interview with John Smith, president of the Alpha Alpha Beta chapter, he even went so far as to say that “it didn’t inconvenience me at all! With all the craziness of COVID-19, I’m glad I could finally feel like I could control something again.”
By the end of Tuesday, the hashtag had garnered nearly 30 million posts on Instagram. Meanwhile, much less popular movements, like those organized to support Black trans women who have been recently attacked at protests, are struggling to gain traction. As social media becomes a platform for information and activism, it goes to show how movements like these call to attention what really is important.
Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.
Contact Jessica de la Paz at jdelapaz ‘at’ stanford.edu.