• Diana Solomon

UK Twitter’s Role in Performative BLM Allyship: Who is Isaiah Jackson?

Since #BlackoutTuesday, it’s been quite easy to differentiate between those who truly support the Black Lives Movement and those who were simply participating in a ‘trend’.

The likes of Isaiah Jackson – a man who clearly seemed like a well-educated supporter via Twitter - was de-masked as clearly ignorant through a horrendous photograph of his knee on the neck of a white toddler. Both disrespectfully mocking and making light of George Floyd’s death.

This stirs up a lot of questions – what does BLM mean to people? Why is it no longer ‘trending’? What exactly is performative allyship?

Simply put, performative allyship is service level activism. It summarises what we have all been feeling and thinking – BLM is no longer trending because to most people we thought were ‘allies’, it is no longer cool or ‘on trend’ to play that role of the ally/supporter.

Isaiah Jackson

Social media can be a well of toxicity when overused – so of course, we must ask…what exactly is Twitter’s role in performative allyship and does social media make it easier to seem as though you’re a supporter/ally on the surface level?

Well, Isaiah Jackson verified that narrative.

How can a person that seemed so genuinely distressed and engrossed by the level of pain and suffering in the Black community imitate such a tragic and traumatic event on a two-year-old baby, nonetheless? There is a right and wrong way of promoting and supporting BLM…

…Jackson kneeling on the neck of a two-year old white baby mimicking the unfortunate death of George Floyd is clearly the wrong way.

Social media fortuitously allows the enablement of labels such as ‘the best ally’. This will last for the week and then the supposed ‘best ally’ will continue living their life as normal the next.

BLM is not a trend, it is a cause you continue to fight for the rest of your life regardless of social media’s input. Regardless of whether or not it’s the topic of the day on the Twitter timeline.

You don’t just retweet a few petitions - systemic racism will not be resolved by just signing petitions. It will, however, gradually begin to change if we all incorporate supporting the movement into our daily lives.

Black people as a collective are not asking you to bend over backwards and make your entire social media platform a BLM catalogue. We are simply asking for you to take your activism beyond social media.

Speak up when it’s necessary! If you have a racist auntie that has been blurting out racial slurs since the beginning of time, it is within your duty as a decent human being and an ally to call her out! Whether her racism is in your face, or covert – do not ignore it.

Always remember social media is not real life, making a difference on Twitter will not always make a difference in the real world.

Wake up please!

#BlackLivesMatter #Everyday


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