Hopefully, you woke up today with an Instagram feed full of black voices and black boxes. If you’re not a member of the Black community and you’re curious about the meaning of Blackout Tuesday on Instagram, we’re happy to break it down for you. Participating is a small way to show your efforts to help amplify melanated voices by removing your own voice from the social media narrative.
To be clear, it isn’t as simple as posting a plain black square. There are a few ground rules to abide by, too. First and foremost, do not use the hashtag #blacklivesmatter on your blackout post. Users clicking that hashtag should be able to see a plethora of information regarding the movement and how people can aid the fight against racial injustice. The blackout is meant to mute non-Black voices so that Black voices can be heard; if the blackout posts overwhelm the hashtag, they will do more harm than good. If you’d like to use a hashtag in your caption, you can use #blackouttuesday.
Or, if you’re a non-Black person, you can post nothing at all. While the black squares are meant to be a sign of solidarity with the Black community, they run the risk of clogging up feeds and hiding the important posts from Black voices. Feel free to post nothing if you’re more comfortable with that option.
Then what? If you’re a non-Black person who completed his or her blackout post, consider your posting done for the day. Don’t post any grid or Stories content at all, even if it’s content you think is helpful. However, you don’t have to log off. You can absolutely scroll through hashtags and educate yourself. The Black Lives Matter movement thrives in part due to its social media presence, so you don’t have to stay off social media all day. Just stay silent.
If you do sign off for the day, use your time wisely. Donate to anti-racism organizations, and then consider supporting Black-owned businesses. Posting a black square on social media and then doing absolutely nothing does not make you an ally. We implore you to do what you can to help aid the fight against racial injustice, in any way you can.