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Protests have erupted across the United States due to more and more blatant racist behavior and police brutality which has resulted in the death of black lives. Thanks to the pervasiveness of camera phones and the reach of social platforms, these perpetrators of crime are being held accountable and the Black Lives Matter movement has taken on an incredible momentum. 

Here are some ways tech has helped—and hurt—the movement.

#BlackLivesMatter: Solidarity or Virtue Signaling

On the first Tuesday of June, you may have scrolled on Instagram to see nothing but rows of black squares, posted in solidarity for George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Though as quickly as these posts went up, other activities clamored for people to take them down, or at least disassociate the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag with the black square, claiming that the solidarity gesture was dominating the topic and covering up useful and actionable information.

#BlackOutTuesday was originally started as a campaign by two women in the music industry, who wanted their "colleagues to halt business for a day and use the time to reflect on how white people in the industry exploit and make money off black talent."

By the end of the day, many posts were deleted, and heavily criticized for 'virtue-signaling', or expressing moral outrage and goodness without any actions to back it. The positive side is that the Instagram trend ultimately still led to many people posting valuable resources and information about where to vote, call your representative, or how to dismantle systemic racism.

K-Pop Fans Take Over Racist Hashtags

Twitter can be a toxic place—one of President Trump's tweets was hidden for 'glorifying violence'—and in the face of the Black Lives Matter movement, there were some counterproductive hashtags such as #WhiteLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter which tried to silence the movement.

The internet heroes who came in to re-appropriate those hashtags? K-pop fans, who flooded them with photos of their smooth-skinned, singing and dancing idols. They also 'similarly overwhelmed the Dallas Police Department’s iWatch Dallas app, which encouraged civilians to submit videos of protesters engaged in illegal activity.''

Not ones to let down the fans, the K-pop stars of the famous BTS group donated $1 million dollars to the BLM movement. In response, their fans raised another $1 million dollars to match them in the next 24 hours. Activism is officially ON.

IRL Prompt: Get Involved, Get Informed

One of the most important things we can do as citizens is to know our rights. Whether you are stopped by the police, protesting, disabled or in prison, the more you know about your rights, the less likely it's possible to be taken advantage of. Read up on the ACLU website for more here.

Another important right we have to exercise is to vote. And not just every four years; local government has a lot more capacity and power to evoke positive change and we have the power to elect who is in charge. Find your local representatives here.

The world can feel overwhelming in the midst of this pandemic and all of these protests... so always know that it is always okay to take a break from being online and to disconnect. 

Thank you for reading, and as always, you can e-mail us here with any feedback, thoughts, or other tips on living IRL.
Send this to a friend who needs some tips on how to connect IRL. Then call them up for a chat.

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?

Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a biweekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
Erin Ellis, Illustrator

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