Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Aug. 3, 2017
Not too long ago, I made a post on my Facebook page that went a little something like this:
Does anyone actually believe their political posts contribute even a tiny bit towards sustainable social change? If not, why make such posts?
I already knew the unspoken answer to the second question: virtue signaling. That said, the handful of replies I did get could be effectively summed up as: #RaisingAwareness. Since it’s precisely what I expected, let’s examine those this rationale (sic). To get started, I’ll quote myself. This is from an article I wrote exactly one decade ago (pre-social media):
“Everywhere I hear about the need to raise ‘awareness.’ So much so, that awareness and consciousness appear to have become the goals: ends in and of themselves. If only we were conscious of ‘what's going in ____’ or aware of how ‘prevalent ____ has become’ or whatever else we need to recognize, it seems most folks would be mighty satisfied. My question: When exactly does all this goddamned awareness translate into productive action and tangible change?”
Side note: I really must remind those who think I’ve recently “changed” or become “arrogant” and “bitter” that I wrote the above passage in 2007 -- probably way before you ever met or even heard of me.
Moving right along…
When someone claims to be #RaisingAwareness (or #InspiringAction), it’s essential to remember that, basically, “awareness” is measured in likes and “action” is measured in shares.
Please allow me to return to my 2007 article:
“The current patterns of dissent in America are way overdue for re-evaluation and overhaul. The powers-that-be have long ago figured out how to either marginalize or co-opt dissent. Until our tactics evolve, we remain accomplices to vast global crimes.”
Side note: I’d write similar words today but would now clarify the patriarchal and necrophilic foundations for such global crimes.
#RaisingAwareness and #InspiringAction could be noble ideals in theory, but what passes for “awareness” today has transformed the concept into counterproductive clickbait. As for “action,” well… holding hands in the shape of a peace sign ain’t getting it done, and never will.
Our likes, shares, comments, tweets, re-tweets, chants, cardboard signs, hashtags, marches, demos, protests, sit-ins, teach-ins, die-ins, symbolic arrests, puppets, color-coded profile pics, FB check-ins, selfies (or any photos), talks, lectures, petitions, candlelight vigils, street theater, books, social media flame wars, social media virtue signaling, and articles like this do nothing to help create sustainable social change.
Awareness is overrated.
“I expected to die,” Black Panther Huey P. Newton said back in the day. “At no time before the trial did I expect to escape with my life. Yet being executed in the gas chamber did not necessarily mean defeat. It could be one more step to bring the community to a higher level of consciousness.”
Was Huey right? Would his death have done anything more than create another t-shirt icon?
Don’t ask me.
More from my 2007 article:
“We’re already aware of plenty. We know about it. We talk about it. We write about it. We complain about it. We hold meetings, talks, seminars, and classes about it. We march about it. We make signs about it. Nothing changes.”
Today, of course, I’d add: Mostly, we post about it on social media.
Many lessons remain unlearned. Here are three:
See you in another 10 years…?
Mickey Z. is the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on the streets of New York City. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and make a donation right now. And please spread the word!
Hey everyone, look at me! I’m #RaisingAwareness! by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/hey-everyone-look-at-me-i-m-raisingawareness-mickey-z.