Opinion: Wearing and trading social movements like fast fashion hurts the cause

By EMMA MILLER

As new and old movements are spreading all across America, it may seem hard to keep track. One helpful way to encourage and uplift these movements is by speaking about them and listening to their voices. Genuine support is not easy; it takes both time and effort. This also means not trading one movement for another when a newer movement starts “trending.”

In a time when racial division is on the rise, it is necessary that each person and group stands and lifts up the other. But be careful not to replace one movement with another; following only the latest movement is not the step forward you may think it is. The “Black Lives Matter” movement is still necessary and is not over despite the victory in the Derek Chauven case. And all the same, the “Protect Asian Lives” movement is still necessary despite the killer in the Atlanta shooting being caught. When we simply replace the names of movements with others instead of acknowledging and battling each issue simultaneously, it creates a cycle where we do not ever solve any problems. This makes serious and important issues into trends to follow and forget when the next “trend” or issue comes up. 

Lives are being threatened and or made more difficult daily due to the fluctuation in hate crimes in the past year. According to an Anti-Asian Prejudice March 2021 Fact Sheet produced by the California State University of San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, in the year 2020, reported hate crimes against Asians have risen by 145%. This is simply the data collected of the reported cases and presumably, many hate crimes have been committed under the radar. 

An example of people seeing these movements as a trend was the Black Lives Matter Movement. Many people chose to use tokens that showed their support for the movement, but did not truly help. People who use serious issues as aesthetics, trends, or accessories are almost as detrimental as the people who oppose those issues. It makes a mockery of them and brings them down to simply being a phase. An opinion piece, “The problem of performative activism,” for Aljazeera written by John Metta says, “Today, it is common to see businesses with Black Lives Matter signs in their windows, but so much of the current support coincides with public announcements that feel more like marketing than social action. It seems that every company is proclaiming how strong their involvement is, while so much of their action is limited to words.”

However, while it is helpful to raise awareness about the problems, one thing many people often mistake is their ways of supporting. For example, on the surface it might seem like a minor issue to interchange names between different organizations; like replacing “Protect Asian Lives” with “Asian Lives Matter”; however, many problems do arise from this. Each movement’s name has an important origin, and just filling in the blank with another group makes the movements seem interchangeable, when each is unique and important.

This is in no way, shape, or form attempting to sway people away from supporting Black Lives Matter or Protect Asian Lives, but to encourage those who wish to make a difference to do so in helpful and constructive ways that are ongoing. A great example of a positive way to help this movement is to visit blacklivesmatter.com and look at the resources they have listed there. To learn more about how to stop hate against the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community, there is information and resources on the following two websites; https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/  https://stopasianhate.carrd.co/#

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