Commentary: Social media activism needs to be more than performative

Deja Goode, Editor in Chief
Deja Goode, Editor in Chief

In light of the disgusting hate and violence targeted at the Asian community, many online platforms have been taking action to diminish hate speech and threats toward Asians. While these actions are progressive and worth noting, it is important to question why this has been the only time they have taken action to ensure the safety of a racial group when there are songs targeted toward other communities that have not been considered harmful. 

Recently, YouTube made an announcement that the website has banned Compton rapper YG’s “Meet The Flockers” due to a lyric about targeting “Chinese neighborhoods” in robbery attempts. Several music platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify, have followed suit removing the album until new versions are uploaded sans the poor lyrics directed toward the Asian American community. YouTube has also been banning users who partake in hate speech and threats against them as well. 

Since I can remember, racist music and equally threatening comments have been scattered across the YouTube platform like wildfire and little to nothing has been done about it. Some of their highest paid creators, such as Shane Dawson, have several racist videos targeting the Black community and are still up, still putting money in Dawson’s pocket with each view. In addition to that, many videos containing racial slurs and harmful oppressive lyrics still remain on the platform now. 

Many argue that these actions are protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and it would be a violation of these rights to punish or ban users who are “exercising their rights,” but it is important to highlight equal consideration to all groups who experience the harmful effects of racism on a daily basis.  

The actions YouTube has taken feel performative and promote fake activism and just shows that they only care when it’s trending. Hate speech toward the Asian American community, Black community, and pretty much every single minority group has been a common trend on this platform for a long time. It is important to protect all communities and not just those who have it the worst at a point in time.

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