Why Are People Blacking Out Their Social Media Profile Photos?
"Why is your picture black on FB?" "Wanted to let you know you have no profile or cover photo on Facebook. I hope everything's ok." Those are actual messages I received after changing my profile photo this morning.
If I'm being honest, those messages "irked" me at first. It's a large, important and powerful movement created by two black women in the music industry. They've explained that their #TheShowMustBePaused initiative is meant to disrupt the work week and take a stand against the "racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard." One of their goals is getting people to have honest and reflective conversations about what each of us, regardless of our own race and experience, can do to support our Black colleagues and neighbors who are in pain right now. Moved by the protests and conversations that began after the death of George Floyd, those outside the music industry began joining in adding #BlackoutTuesday to their posts.
How could people that I love and care about be so blatantly ignorant about something so far reaching? It was in that moment that I stopped myself from getting angry and took it as an opportunity to educate them about the movement.
The simple action of changing my profile picture to a black square forced me to have a conversation with myself and reflect on what I'm seeing on the news right now. As a white woman, I understand that I will never fully understand how we got here but I'm here to listen and I'm here to learn. If one of my Black colleagues or neighbors needs to talk or wants to share their experiences with me, I have all the time in the world to listen. We can't move forward and make positive changes here in the Treasure Valley and communities beyond without seeing racial injustice and inequality through their eyes. Embrace the opportunity to have these important talks with love and compassion.
You're encouraged to not use the #BlackLivesMatter when changing your profile photo. Doing so will cause these black square photos to trend rather than important content attached to that hashtag like anti-racism resources and how to help the families of those recently impacted by racial injustice.