Pearl Jam Reflect on Unconscious Racism + How to Do Better
With the protests concerning racial inequality over the past week, it has led many to re-examine their own behavior and how systemic racism may have imprinted upon their everyday life. That includes the members of Pearl Jam, who have shared their thoughts online.
In a series of tweets, the band writes, "Pearl Jam was started with a love for music and social justice. Our organization has been reflecting on where unconscious racism is still showing up in our own lives and how we can do better."
They continue, "While we continue to dig in, we do not want to contribute to white voices overtaking the narrative that the Black community is sharing. It is the responsibility of each of us to listen and educate ourselves on how to be better humans sharing this planet."
From there, the group linked off to a Forge Medium article on performative allyship and how it may actually be harmful to getting a message across. For those unaware, the writer of the piece, Holiday Phillips, describes performative allyship as when someone from a non-marginalized group "professes support and solidarity with a marginalized group in a way that either isn't helpful or that actively harms the group." She continues, "Performative allyship usually involves the 'ally' receiving some kind of reward — on social media, it’s that virtual pat on the back for being a 'good person' or 'on the right side.'"
She cites posts that use an image and a simple message or hashtag that doesn't really engage or add anything new to the conversation. She continues, "It almost always expresses itself as outrage, disbelief, or anger “at the injustice.” But your outrage isn’t useful — if anything, it’s a marker of your privilege, that to you racism is still surprising. Trust me when I say this is not so for black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) for whom racism is an everyday reality." She also calls out messages that refuse to acknowledge personal responsibility for systemic issues, instead seeking a villain to blame. "It separates you (good) from them (bad)," she explains. "Perhaps most noticeable, it’s usually met with praise, approval, or admiration for the person expressing it. That is its lifeblood."
Rather than limiting support to social media outrage, the author suggests acting with your wallet to benefit agencies actively working on these issues, calling out the racism you see in real life, informing yourself on the issues and taking action in a matter while seeking no recognition for it. Read more of that article here.
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