North Texas Daily

‘Justice for Breonna Taylor’ is now another performative social media trend

‘Justice for Breonna Taylor’ is now another performative social media trend

‘Justice for Breonna Taylor’ is now another performative social media trend
July 23
14:09 2020

You may be familiar with her name from someone’s post on social media, “but anyways, justice for Breonna Taylor,” but she was so much more than a second thought in someone’s Instagram caption. Breonna Taylor was a young 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency room technician in Louisville, Kentucky. She was murdered by the Louisville Metro Police Department, in her sleep, while in the comfort of her home on March 13, 2020.

When I see these captions, especially on a social media influencer’s post, it disgusts me. It bothers me, and even more so because I am, myself, a Black woman. Breonna Taylor deserved so much more than to be one: a hashtag, and two: an Instagram caption when the person posting was too dense to come up with anything else.

Who knows if her story would have garnered as much attention as it did if not for the case of George Floyd? Even though her tragic death occurred months before his. It is disheartening to think about, but it is a somber topic to discuss either way. The lives of Black women being taken at the hands of an unjust system is not talked about anywhere near as frequently as it is when it comes to Black men.

Now that more and more of these cases are being brought to light, they certainly should not be made into memes or be used as a tactic to make it to the trending page.

During this entire ordeal, this has been one of the biggest displays of performative activism. If you really care about Black lives like you say you do, then you would not tweet her name just for retweets or caption your posts with her name to “raise awareness.” Specifically, when it comes to people with large followings on social media platforms. They have the means to donate, so they should stick to that.

Stop posting her name for likes and attention.

When I read these posts in my head, they sound like “well here’s a photo of me that I just had to post right now, but I don’t want to seem too narcissistic so justice for Breonna Taylor or whatever haha.” If they wanted to post a selfie, they could have just done so with a generic caption, but now they are participating in performative activism and making it all about themselves with just a sprinkle of attention for Breonna Taylor.

I really dislike that it has come to people coming up with dramatic “news stories” involving celebrities, in order to get people to click on their Twitter threads which consist of petitions to sign instead of actual celebrity news. Even if it does work, it is weird to think that people now must be tricked into contributing to the cause, and even then, they probably just click out of the thread as soon as they realize it was a baited post.

I will never be able to know what this has been like for the family of Breonna Taylor, but I can imagine they never thought their daughter’s name and legacy would be diminished to a social media caption.

How is a picture of you posing in your mirror helping Breonna get her justice? How is it pressuring the Louisville Metro Police Department, to arrest the officers who murdered her in her home that night?  It does not make sense, no matter which way you try to spin it.

Please stop participating in the trend that is captioning photos with her name behind “Justice for….” Instead, post her picture with her name in the caption, tweet the link to a petition, donate to her family. Do literally anything else besides posting an image of yourself that has nothing to do with getting justice for her and her family.

It is not quirky, it is not cute and it is most certainly not helping.

Breonna was someone’s daughter, friend, lover, confidant, sister, all the above and her life was tragically cut short at the hands of a corrupt system. A system that was designed to work against everything she was, yet she worked for it in an attempt to better it for others like her. Others like me. A Black person. A Black woman, to be more specific. And she should be remembered as such.

Featured Illustration: Ali Jones

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Peyton Jones

Peyton Jones

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