REBOOT: Black People Aren't Trending

Still wondering about the hierarchy of empathy

Don't make it about debt, make it about decency on a blue backround surrounded by raised fists. Underneath is reparationsrace.org

Hello friends,

It’s time for the monthly reboot, and it seemed a good time to resurface this piece, originally written in 2021 but which continues to be relevant today. I’ll share some additional thoughts at the end.

"Consistently when you look to see what’s trending on Medium, it’s not Black people."

The phrase popped out at me from a Marley K article. It reverberated through my brain for the whole day, and I had thoughts. Here they are:

Black people trend when Black death happens.

When there's violence, when there's trauma, we trend, with the hashtags of death.

When we are shot while walking, jogging, sleeping, when we are killed while trying to breathe (8.46), we trend.

When a wrong is done to us that can't be explained away but somehow is, we trend... for a moment, not even a hot minute, but a hot, painful second.

But when it continues to matter, as our Black lives do, we don't trend.

We don't trend when algorithms hide us, and trolls deride us.

We don't trend when trying to explain the pain of centuries of oppression, depressing our hearts, our minds, our very souls, our inner being.

We don't trend when people touch our hair, forget our names, deny our expertise, underestimate our knowledge, question our lived experience as experts in the structures that dismantle us, even as we would dismantle them.

White supremacy, we're looking at you with a beady, jaundiced eye.

What will it take for Black people to trend?

Action, not just words.

Consistency not complacency.

Standing up not standing back.

Unpacking and acknowledging your white privilege then wielding it as a weapon to undo that which holds it up, till racism ends.

Till then, we will never, never trend.

Four years on from George Floyd’s murder, we’ve had many more examples of Black lynchings being treated like a news fad, and of the people raising awareness of these areas being shadowbanned, deplatformed, and silenced.

And of course, this doesn’t just apply to Black people - the hierarchy of empathy often seems to depend on identity, cultural background, religious beliefs, location or skin colour - to name just a few characteristics.

I continue to hope that we can fight ALL oppression and dismantle the systems that keep certain events and causes from trending at the very moment when they should be getting most attention.

Thanks for reading,

Sharon

© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021, 2024. All Rights Reserved.

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I am an anti-racism educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast.

© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2024. All Rights Reserved. This newsletter is published on beehiiv (affiliate link).

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