Defined as activism that is done to increase one’s social capital rather than because of one’s devotion to a cause. A person who is taking part in performative activism would rather let it be known that they are not racist (sexist, homophobic, etc.) rather than actually seeking to change the racist structures within our country. Can also be applied to allyship.
- Many corporations fall into this category to gain positive publicity, for instance, putting rainbows in their logos and sponsoring LGBTQ Pride parades, while at the same time, donating significant amounts of money to legislators who are actively working to diminish the safety and human rights of LGBTQ people.
- Performative activism is saying one thing, and continuing to make the same harmful choices and actions. It is lacking the humility and self-reflection to assess how you are contributing to injustices, whether intentionally or not, and what changes are required by you. While posting on social media is important and sometimes an accessible first step in one’s journey, continued growth and action are inherent to being an ally.
- “If you are not implementing your newfound education on racism in real-life environments and not just on social media, then you are not an ally.”
Real allyship and activism requires taking on some risk and being in solidarity with those who are facing injustice.