NEW YEAR, NEW YOU, RIGHT? Then why does early January pick up about where December left off, with you staring at the screen, fuming, alternatively rage-Hoovering handfuls of Cheez-its into your mouth and smearing your keyboard dusty-orange while banging out “WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES?!?!” beneath someone’s Facebook status.
Or maybe that’s just me?
Regardless of your stance on cheesy snacks, I think we can all agree there’s been plenty to get worked up about on social media these days, and while Step 1 is un-friending your Trump-loving uncle — and Step 2 is probably investing in some healthier snacks, or at the very least some napkins — there are avenues out there to channel your internet incredulity into actual, tangible change. To ease this transition to IRL, I’ve devised a helpful, clickbait-y quiz to determine how precisely you should repurpose your armchair activism in the real world. Sorry, no kitten GIFs.
The following are a sample of actual Facebook statuses* I’ve collected for your perusal (without commenting on any! BRB, accepting my Nobel Prize). Which one raises your blood pressure the most?
*Names have been omitted, atrocious spelling and grammar have been left intact.
A. “Ok yes its sad when black ppl are shot but were not getting the whole picture…people of ALL colors and races are important. #ALLLIVESMATTER folks!”
B. “tbh donald trump has a point. not saying we need a wall (tho that would be SICK lol) but lets keep america for americans”
C. “just sayin bruce jenner (NOT callin him caitlyn lol) is a pervert who wants attention. not a athlete and not a hero. #smdh”
D. “good idea obama let’s allow the terrorists into the US…im sorry but nope let them stay in syria”
E. “maybe bill cosby was outtta line but all those women probably were drinking more then they should and dressed like hos. take some responsibility!”
If you picked A: You’re irked most by people who completely miss the point of racial justice movements, hijacking valid ideas with beside-the-point platitudes and derailing a very necessary dialogue in the process. You could point this out ‘til you’re blue in the face, but why risk cries of “Blue lives matter”? Instead, check out the Black Lives Matter Events page. The nifty location search feature allows you to scope out events near you. Protests aren’t your jam? No problem. Helping organize poetry readings, art exhibits, and cool free jazz concerts are other options for getting out and showing love.
If you picked B: Nothing grinds your gears quite like rich old white men trying to make life tough for immigrants… except maybe for rich old white men who are married to Russian supermodels trying to make life tough for immigrants. You could try to get #DumpTrump trending, or you could make an impact by volunteering your time to the Dream Act, an organization that helps undocumented youth obtain citizenship. Bonus for couch potatoes — you don’t even have to put on pants for this one. You can lobby your representatives to do the right thing from the comfort of your own bed.
If you picked C: There’s a special circle in the fires of your wrath reserved for icky anti-trans rhetoric. Sure, you could go to battle with your old high-school wrestling coach’s rants about he-shes. But instead of obsessing over the last word, why not lend a hand to a last resort? Groups like The Trevor Project work round the clock to provide outreach to trans-identifying teens who are in crisis — or even contemplating suicide. Every little bit helps, from dipping into your coffee fund (donate HERE) to volunteering at hot-line call centers and talking directly to at-risk individuals.
If you picked D: You probably spent the holidays stewing over unwelcoming attitudes toward refugees. It felt good to bite back with a: “Gee, if only there were a seasonally-appropriate allegory about a Middle Eastern family looking for shelter only to be sent away to, oh, say, a MANGER?” If you’re left wanting to do more, check out organizations like Refugee Transitions to volunteer with regular language tutoring, advocacy, and welcoming workshops. While that organization is Bay Area-based, there are others just like it all over the country. Here’s a good place to start your search.
If you picked E: The only thing that makes you sicker than spiked pudding pop jokes are suggestions that victims of sexual assault somehow brought it on themselves. This sexist, dangerous mindset manifests in all kinds of ways from the downright violent to the insidious and well-intentioned (see purity balls, dress codes, etc). You could spend all day sharing feminist blog posts on your feed (Um, in fact please do! Your girl’s gotta eat!), but maybe supplement that with some good old-fashioned volunteering. Awesome rape recovery organizations like Pandora’s Project are notoriously understaffed and underfunded, actively looking for talented writers, artists, web designers, and guest speakers to pitch in.
There you have it. Some surefire ways to alleviate your social media social justice rage (Say THAT 5 times fast!). Sign off and plug in to real-world opportunities to further your favorite cause.
And OK, fine.
One every kitten GIF. You’ve earned it!