Idle-ising: Are we choosing the right idols?

We must stop idolising those who remain idle when it comes to social activism. It’s time to reevaluate who we are giving a social platform. Choosing to remain silent on important topics within social injustice is a political statement within itself.

When you stop following the influencers that are the first to promote slimming teas or fake air pods and start to follow social activists you will be surprised at the world of knowledge and new viewpoints you will be exposing yourself to. It’s time to take away their influence, as best we can. We can’t take back the platform we have given certain celebrities, but we can try to make that platform smaller.

The silence on this matter from popular influencers has been deafening. The Black Lives Matter movement has made it as apparent as ever that social influencers have too much control and are abusing their power by remaining silent. You can actively be the change. Admittedly, you can’t stop influencers from promoting messages you don’t agree with. However, you can unfollow them yourself, clear up your own news feeds and see the difference it can make.

Let’s not forget that on #blackouttuesday together we effectively “shut down” Instagram newsfeeds, overwhelming them with black screens. Our individual contributions, in turn, contributed to creating a global initiative. If we all unfollow those who abuse their online platforms it will inevitably decrease their outreach. We can’t control the content of the mainstream media, but we can control our own news feeds to some extent.

John Boyega risked his entire Hollywood career when he stood up to racism and protested for the Black Lives Matter movement. Marcus Rashford worked with Charity FareShare, and raised close to 20 million pounds in donations to help overcome poverty and reduce food wastage. Meanwhile, Jameela Jamil is the first to call out the patriarchal messages in the media, sharing messages of empowerment and positivity for a variety of different identities. Florence Given is another incredibly frank and honest social activist who consistently uses her social platform and art to openly and honestly empower women and educate her followers on how to have safe relationships and respect all identities. These are just a few examples of the people that we should be not only praising but admiring.

Rethink who you are choosing to ‘stan’; rethink the messages you are exposing yourself to and who influences you. This is the perfect time to see which online influencers have been using their influence for good. Who has been fighting for the equal treatment and basic human rights of black people and who has just posted a black screen and called it a day?  Now is not the time to be naive; a statement claiming to support the movement isn’t good enough. Influencers should be educating people on institutionalised racism, sharing petitions, donation links and using their power to set up positive initiatives.

Choose who you are giving a platform, and take it away from those who abuse it. You can choose what your social media feeds are full of, and you can choose to follow so many meaningful and interesting accounts! Don’t even waste your time contributing to those who will misuse their platform, standing by idly whilst the many injustices in the world continue to get hidden from mainstream media.

Here are some interesting Instagram accounts I encourage you to check out:

@natgeo – Incredible photography from all over the world

@blackhistory – Telling the untold historical stories of the black community

@brownhistory – Telling the untold historical stories of the South Asian community

@huffpost – A variety of important news stories and headlines

@complex – News and media

@restlessnetwork – News & media account currently educating us on how to help BLM.

@healthline – Providing interesting and helpful tips on mental health and well-being

@freeda_en – Uplifting and positive content

@crazyheadcomics – Artist and mental health advocate

@florencegiven – Empowering women and educating people on white privilege and patriarchal norms.

@jameelajamilofficial – Actress and social activist

@yarashahidi – Actress and activist

Saminda Sidhu

Image: Wallpaper Flare.