fad [fad]; an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by FOUR Minneapolis police officers. Like many other Black/police encounters before, his death was caught on video by bystanders. The video itself shocked the nation, and the world, to its core.
“Wow, I can’t believe this happened.”
“My heart is so heavy.”
“This is not okay.”
People were reminded- or forced to remember- what vilification and condemnation Black people are subjected to on a daily basis. I believe it was in Ava DuVernay’s 2016 documentary, 13th, where I heard Jelani Cobb say that using media is a way of “searching for the medium of technology, that will confirm your experience such that your basic humanity can be recognized.” Camera phones, social media, technology… they all force a conversation to be had.
The murder of George Floyd indeed started a conversation- or rather it magnified the conversation already being had. It ignited a movement, and it unearthed so many other people who were buried beneath the system of silence and oppression. Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Kendrick Johnson, and so many more stories were brought forward to light, reopened, and given the proper recognition for push for justice. With the increase of recognition, calls for abolition, and catalysts of action, there has also been an influx in pandering and performative activism to the point that the deaths of Black people have been twisted into a meme-procuring, internet fad for some.