Avoiding Performative Activism: How to Support and Educate Yourself #BlackLivesMatter

Source: https://www.weforum.org

The Black Lives Matter movement is not an Instagram trend nor a challenge to see how many of your friends will continue along the chain. Performative Activism has become rampant on social media in response to recent events. It’s much more important to educate yourself on the severity of the issue, and to do something to tangibly help.

Start the conversation, and continue the conversation in your community!

Recent News Reports:
CNN Correspondent Omar Jimenez Arrested Live on Television
CNN Correspondent Omar Jimenez Released From Police Custody
George Floyd Protesters Met w/ Police Violence
Police Escalating Violence at George Floyd Protests: Now This News
More than 100 Attacks on Journalists by US Police During George Floyd Protests
Hong Kong, China React to US Protests Over Police Brutality

Some Instagram Accounts to Follow to Stay Informed (not an all-encompassing list):
@privtoorg
@zinneducationproject
@blklivesmatter
@naacp
@showingupforracialjustice
@unitedwedream
@colorofchange
@civilrightsorg

Other Sources for Information and To Help:
http://www.aclu.org
http://www.naacp.org
http://www.joincampaignzero.com
https://bailproject.com
https://www.nami.org
https://www.blackvisionsmn.org
https://abepmpls.org/pigmento-relief-fund
https://www.knowyourrightscamp.com/legal

Protests
Check locally for plans for protests, if you choose to attend, and be sure to know of your rights in the event you are arrested or injured. There are many law offices currently offering pro-bono services to defend people during these times. Wear a mask and adequately protect yourself – rubber bullets and tear gas have been used in these protests, so prepare to expect the worst.

Implicit Bias Association
Take an implicit bias test to assess your implicit biases. This can help inform what to do moving forward. Do not feel ashamed if you have implicit biases that you were not aware of, rather use this as an opportunity to improve on them by educating yourself and self-correcting.

Racial Wealth Gap and Homeownership Gap:

Many people do not realize how pervasive the wealth and homeownership gap really is in the United States.

“during the most recent economic downturn, median net worth declined by more for Black families (44.3 percent decline from 2007 to 2013) than for white families (26.1 percent decline).”

“[W]ealth begets more wealth. Higher levels of wealth enable greater access to more favorable terms for credit. Wealth provides individuals and families with financial agency and choice; it provides economic security to take risks and shields against the risk of economic loss. Basically, wealth is cumulative. It provides people with the necessary capital to secure finance and purchase an appreciating asset, which in turn, will generate more and more wealth (Hamilton, 2017)”

“For example, almost 30 percent of Black college-educated households, and 20 percent of Latinx college-educated households, would not afford to pay all their bills after a $400 emergency expense. These figures increase to nearly 60 percent and 50 percent, respectively, for non-college-educated Black and Latinx households. With little to no liquid wealth and vulnerable job prospects, Black and Latinx families are more likely to face greater housing insecurity, including exposure to eviction and foreclosure, which in turn will exacerbate the homeownership gap.”(americanprogress.org)

Recommended Watching/Readings:
Explained | Racial Wealth Gap | FULL EPISODE | Netflix
The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran
Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility by Thomas Shapiro
Income and Wealth Inequality: Crash Course
Black Executives Address the Racial Wealth Gap in America

Racial Biases in Healthcare:

As an aspiring future healthcare professional, these statistics are shocking to me and they should be to you as well. Recent initiatives have been introduced to mitigate health disparities, however, this is still a pervasive and systematic issue today. Health disparities are very prevalent in the US Healthcare system (on many levels).

Inferior Treatments and Care

*NAM found that “racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white people—even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable.” By “lower-quality health care,” NAM meant the concrete, inferior care that physicians give their black patients. 

*”One study of 400 hospitals in the United States showed that black patients with heart disease received older, cheaper, and more conservative treatments than their white counterparts.”

*”Perhaps more disturbing is that black patients are more likely to receive less desirable treatments. The rates at which black patients have their limbs amputated is higher than those for white patients.”

Less Accessibility

*“Minorities have less access to health care than whites. The level of uninsurance for Hispanics is 34% compared with 13% among whites.”

*”Nationally, minority women are more likely to avoid a doctor’s visit due to cost.”

Health disparities…it describes the increased presence and severity of certain diseases, poorer health outcomes, and greater difficulty in obtaining healthcare services for these races and ethnicities.”

“At the national level, African American men, for instance, are more likely to die from cancer than Caucasian men.”

Recent NIH Studies

Crystal et al. (2001)37The association of initiation and persistence of newer antiretroviral treatments with any patient characteristics.Administrative claims data and HIV/AIDS surveillance data from the New Jersey Medicaid program (1998).African Americans, Whites and Hispanics.African Americans and Hispanics experienced delay in treatment initiation compared to Whites, along with less-consistent use of the newer antiretroviral treatments after the first prescription among minorities.
Li et al. (2003)55Evaluate the relationship between race and ethnicity and breast cancer stage, treatments, and mortality rates.Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (1992–1998).Asian or Pacific Islanders, Asians, Blacks, Hispanic Whites, and non-Hispanic Whites.Racial and ethnic minorities had a greater likelihood of presenting with an advanced stage of breast cancer compared to Whites.

Recommended Watching/Readings:
Johns Hopkins Medicine: Minority Health Disparities
Health and Educational Disparities in the US
Understanding America’s Healthcare Inequality: HCP Live
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington
Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Healthcare by Dayna Bowen Matthew
Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare by Institute of Medicine
Black Man in a White Coat by Damon Tweedy

Racial Biases in Education:


*”2002 Education Longitudinal Study found that “Teacher expectations were more predictive of college success than most major factors, including student motivation and student effort.””

*”And so, we are primed from a very, very young age, often unconsciously primed from a young age all throughout our day to form these biases for one racial group and against another racial group. That’s what we talk about unconscious bias.”

*”A lot of organizations just have this litany of strategies to be seen as anti-racist. One of the strategies is you bring in a consultant for a one-day professional development once a year to talk about diversity, and you pocket it just that one day…. So just that one day, fly by professional development where we are uncomfortable one day, maybe we feel guilty, we feel shameful, maybe with some tears, some hugs, but then we go back to work as usual. That is not as effective as being more dedicated to it and doing the work.”

*For decades, black students in the United States have lagged behind their white peers in academic achievement. In 2014, the high school graduation rate for white ­students was 87 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. For black students, the rate was 73 ­percent. Test scores show a similar racial gap.

*”Teachers might be less likely to spot black students who excel academically, for instance. Using national data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Sean Nicholson-Crotty, PhD, at Indiana University, and colleagues found black students were 54 percent less likely than white students to be recommended for gifted-education programs, after adjusting for factors such as students’ standardized test scores.”

*”According to 2013–14 data collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, black K–12 students are 3.8 times as likely as their white peers to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions.”

*”The 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2010 was highest for Asian students (74 percent), followed by White students (64 percent), students of Two or more races (60 percent), Hispanic students (54 percent), Pacific Islander students (51 percent), Black students (40 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native students (39 percent).”

Recommended Watching/Readings:
Closing the Racial Achievement Gap by Matthew L. Lynch
Beyond Testing: Seven Assessments of Students and Schools More Effective Than Standardized Tests by Deborah Meier and Matthew Knoester
Harvard University: Education Gap-The Root of Inequality
“Teach us All” Documentary Explores Educational Inequality
Teach us All Documentary on Netflix
https://www.educationnext.org/fallingbehind/

Racial Inequity Resulting in Mass Incarceration

Source: Figure 1

*” 62% of African Americans reside in highly segregated, inner city neighborhoods that experience a high degree of violent crime, while the majority of whites live in “highly advantaged” neighborhoods that experience little violent crime” (Source: Krivo, L., Peterson, R., & Kuhl, D. C. (2009). Segregation, racial structure, and neighborhood violent crime. American Journal of Sociology 114(6): 1765-1802.)

*“juvenile delinquents who live within areas that have high minority populations (more heterogeneous) will more often be detained, regardless of their individual race or ethnicity.” (Source: Armstrong, G. & Rodriguez, N. (2005). Effects of individual and contextual characteristics on preadjudication detention of juvenile delinquents. Justice Quarterly 22(4): 521-539.)

Recommended Watching/Readings:
13th Documentary on Netflix
Systemic Racism Explained
Mass Incarceration in the US Vlogbrothers
Democracy Now: “13th” Examines Racist US Justice System

Make sure to stay educated and up to date- the best way to support (if you cannot financially help out) is to promote the conversation in an educated way that is backed up with facts and statistics. Empower yourself with the knowledge to be able to have these conversations even with people that may disagree with your views.


Published by Magda Wojtara

Magda Wojtara is Junior at the LSA Honors College at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor on a pre-med track with a major in Neuroscience. In her free time, she write articles, volunteers at a chronic pain outpatient facility with UM Medicine, does research, competes in HOSA, and, of course, enjoys photography and singing. In her spare time she manages her own travel and lifestyle blog: @journeythedestiantion on instagram and journeythedestination.weebly.com

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