The events unfolding in Baltimore at the moment are depressingly familiar: Police officer uses excessive force and kills an unarmed Black person. Black people take peacefully to the streets to express their despair and desire for change. The police escalate the situation. Violence erupts. The media and individuals online express their disgust at the Black protesters. Black people take to social media to report the actual facts as they happen and their personal responses and pain. Rinse and repeat. Another dead body. Another wave of misinformed and racially biased coverage. Another swell of grief. It never ends.
In today’s world, when anything of note happens, the place to discuss it is social media. There is a hashtag, a trending topic, a status to be made and shared. The importance of these platforms in situations of civilians versus the state is not to be underestimated. The ability to share information accurately from the frontline, without the filter imposed by authorities is one of the only ways we have to discern the truth.
However the ubiquity and constant nature of social media means that it is quite frankly exhausting. It is draining and demoralizing to scroll through reams and reams of the hurt done to our communities by white people, as well as to see the reactions of other white people to this state-sanctioned violence. But many Black people feel that they have a duty to keep posting and to keep engaging and to keep pushing past the deep pit of sickening hopelessness that opens up any time we are reminded that in the eyes of so many, a broken CVS window is worth more sadness and outrage than the broken spine of a young, Black man.