As the country nears a week of protests following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police, there's been an influx of people and brands showing their support on social media. #BlackoutTuesday, which happened yesterday, was probably the largest show of virtual solidarity yet. The "movement," which was mostly on Instagram and Twitter, called for the "muting" of usual programming such as work promotions, art, and lifestyle posting. To show support, many people and brands began posting black squares to their timelines, as an attempt to highlight black voices and information regarding police brutality. Early in the day there was a backlash regarding the apparent censorship of these very voices - it seemed many social users were hashtagging #Blacklivesmatter and creating a literal blackout of important movement information. But as @RespectableLaw, a progressive lawyer who supports working families, pointed out in a fascinating Twitter thread, there are other problems with the squareposting.
Many big brands, from Nike to Microsoft, were eager to adopt the passive show of support. At first glance, it's nice to see corporations take the side of the people who make them profitable. @RespectableLaw, however, took to Twitter to show how many of these brands have extremely shady and inhumane business practices. Most of them have used child labor. There may not be such a thing as ethical consumption right now, but it's important to realize that brands are not your friends - and they have a lot of work to do before their passive shows of solidarity are taken seriously,.