In case you haven’t noticed, there are things happening at the University of Missouri. And of course, the Internet sprung forward in rapid response, particularly with the two hashtags: #InSolidarityWithMizzou and #ConcernedStudent1950. Let me be clear–I don’t mean to make light of the very real racism and prejudice that many people face every day, nor do I mean to comment on the protests happening on campus at the University of Missouri. All I’m looking at here is the reactions that I’ve seen pop up on social media, particularly in the form of Facebook posts.
The trend began with posts like these. Perhaps someone was sharing an article about the issue, or writing their own thoughts. It was in posts like these were I first started seeing widespread use of the two hashtags.
However, the posts all began to take the same form:
“To the students of color at Mizzou, we, student allies at the [SCHOOL NAME HERE], stand with you in solidarity. To those who would threaten their sense of safety, we are watching. #ConcernedStudent1950 #InSolidarityWithMizzou
Of course, each person was not writing their own statement. It was simply copy and pasted from another person’s post.
Some were targeted just at Mizzou, while others began to include other school and locations in their list. Though the wording varied slightly, the bulk of the message remained entirely unchanged:
It is worth noting that these early posts all started with the introductory statement “To the students of Color at Mizzou” or some variation thereof. But unless the person specifically set their post to be viewable by the entire public, only people they are friends with would be able to see it. So if the person didn’t have any MIzzou students on their friends list, the message wouldn’t actually get to them.
Was it really written to the students at Mizzou, or was it to their own group of friends—trying to prove that they do care and are doing something? Even if that something is just copy/pasting a Facebook post. Armchair activism at its finest.
Later posts have modified the wording slightly, but the core of the post remains the same. In some instances, the poster kept parts of the old wording, leading to situations where the syntax doesn’t quite work correctly. The conclusion seems to have remained unchanged: “To those who would threaten their sense of safety, we are watching.” The hashtags being used also remain the same.
So where do we go from here? Of course, student activism is an incredibly useful thing – people take notice once student groups begin to speak up. But it’s important to bear in mind that a good movement has to have a goal in mind, and real people taking real action. Just copying and pasting a status update is not real action.
Food for thought.
We have reached a great milestone in the progression of this message: the inclusion of the phrase “douche canoe”