There’s no denying the power of an online petition. In 2012, over 750,000 people started petitions on Change.org, over 25 million people signed their names and there were thousands of success stories across the globe. If you have a cause or a complaint anyone with Internet access can start an online protest, and after enough electronic signatures, you may even get a media response or actually see, well, change.
One of the biggest success stories last year was the petition that lead to the arrest of George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But currently, there seems to be a new trend in activism that centers around scripted and reality television shows. There’s been a shift from online petitions that focus on equality and global change to “save my favorite TV show” or “take that show off the air.”
Now, the fight against the airing of Oxygen’s forthcoming show All My Babies’ Mamas was understandable. From the 13-minute trailer, it was apparent that the show would be dysfunctional, stereotypical and an exploit of the children and women involved. Over 37,000 signatures eventually lead to the show’s cancellation.
However, while there’s a national debate about gun control and an uproar about police brutality in our country, should we really focus our sense of activism on protesting shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, Love and Hip Hop and/or the Basketball Wives franchise? Are we turning a blind eye from the most important issues in our country to focus on something as minuscule as a TV show?
The African-American community has had a culture of activism since the days before the civil rights movement. While there’s nothing wrong with protesting for entertainment with more value, we should also use our energy to combat causes that will bring justice, equality, employment and educational opportunities to everyone.
Moving forward, let’s stand up for all of the issues that our important in our community. Our activism and right to protest should go beyond the 30 minute-to-hour-long fictitious shows that pop up on our television or computer screens.