Politics and social justice in the media. Those words may seem like a lot to digest at first, but we get a breakdown with Victoria, known as @paigee74__ on TikTok. With 46k followers, Victoria’s experiences and perspective as a young woman of color provides us with insight on what it means to speak out on injustice, detoxing from social media, what the future may hold, and more.
Jaiden: At what point did you feel the urge to start speaking out on injustice?
Victoria: George Floyd’s death put a fire in me. I watched a man that could be my father, my brother, my friend, beg for his life, called for his mama, and died from the very people who were sworn to protect him. My mind immediately went back to those who died at the hands of the police before him. I couldn’t physically protect them, but I can speak out, I can protest the injustice that continues to be [inflicted on] my people.
Jaiden: Do you feel there are any misconceptions about the current movements in today’s society?
Victoria: I feel like people like to look at BLM as if we want to be put on a pedestal, but that’s not the case whatsoever. It’s a fight against police brutality for all and equality for all.
Jaiden: What do you find to be the best ways of speaking out on injustice?
Victoria: I believe that [with this] generation and [because of]the time we are in now, social media is the way to go. People like to say that reposting, tweeting, TikToks, petitions etc., don’t make a difference but for example, I don’t think they would’ve reopened Elijah Mclain’s case if it wasn’t for the videos and pictures, of him being such a sweet person, weren’t being reposted and shared. Protesting is very important as well, it spoke volumes to have people around the world fighting for this. Having the world come together speaking on the same issue was mind blowing!
Jaiden: Do you do anything in specific to take time for yourself and detox from social media?
Victoria: Yes, I found myself being very angry the more research I did and I was going in public angry and defensive. I was ready to argue with someone at the drop of a hat. I decided for myself that I needed to take a break from social media and [do] research every now and then. Also, as a Christian I turn to God and I pray and study the Bible. I have to take care of myself first. I felt guilty at first, it also felt so selfish to do things that I enjoyed with everything that has been going on, but I have to have a sound mind and a clear mind to be able to continue this fight.
Jaiden: How can you and others effectively use their platform to actively speak out against injustice?
Victoria: Doing research is important and if you see something that has already been posted it’s okay to speak on it as well because you could be reaching a different platform than others.
Jaiden: What are the problems with performative activism?
Victoria: It’s giving a false narrative—that BLM and the others who have received injustice, that it’s all a trend. Doing things for clout/likes/shares. With celebrities and other influencers I believe some of them felt pressured to post about it because people were attacking them and it would look good for their “image.” If you don’t believe in it don’t post about it, you aren’t doing us a favor. It’s doing more harm than good.
Here we have Tony Lopez, a popular TikToker with over 20 million followers, doing quite literally nothing with this video and advancing zero informative rhetoric. This is performative. The video has since been deleted after being mocked and receiving backlash.
Jaiden: How do people unintentionally exhibit performative activism and how can people avoid it?
Victoria: Educate yourself so you can inform others not just for likes and shares. TikTok for example, sounds and certain videos became trendy and people saw the likes they were getting and they would do something similar but they would give no information about the situation. So, you kind of did that video for nothing or just for the likes. So I suggest if you decide to speak out, drop links to petitions or their story. We have too many resources at the palm of our hand, it’s not hard just one click and we have all the sources we need to inform other people.
Jaiden: How do you think our youth will effect the future and where do you hope to see change in 10-15 years?
Victoria: Gen Z is a different breed and I love seeing them educate themselves and fight for what they believe. When they can hold seats in Congress it will be a whole different movement. I would love to see people in high power positions be held accountable for their actions and also I would love to see more diversity in politics.
Jaiden: What are the most important things to educate yourself on regarding social issues, morality and politics?
Victoria: Educate yourself as much as you can. The more you know the better. You never want to have a mindset of ignorance is bliss. Educate yourself on what you think is important for you and generations to come. The information and history that we have been taught has either been lies or whitewashed.
Jaiden: Lastly, do you have any advice or other comments you would like to share?
Victoria: It’s okay to educate yourself and just not go off from what you hear from others. It’s okay to go against what your parents have taught you. You are allowed to develop your own beliefs and feelings because you are your own person. Live for you and not for others.