The real fake news

Katy Perry was recently accused of being racist — not because of anything she has said or done, but because of a pair of shoes for sale on her brand’s clothing website. The shoes had a triangular nose, blue eyes, and red lips attached to a shoe which comes in a variety of rainbow colors.

However, out of the nine available colors, the black shoe, caused an outcry about its supposed resemblance to blackface.

This is ridiculous. We praise a toy brand when it comes out with a doll in multiple skin tones, or a clothing line when it produces nude-colored tights in multiple shades.

But a solid black shoe was criticized for being racist, even though the color selections weren’t even skin tones. Clearly, the black shoes were not meant to replicate blackface — they’re not people, they’re shoes.

Meanwhile, Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean drinking water, and it’s been five years since the water was discovered to be contaminated with lead. Since then, thousands have been permanently handicapped by lead poisoning, while others have died.

Within days of the Twitter meltdown over the shoes, Perry removed them from her website. It’s been five years, and the people of Flint still don’t have access to water that won’t kill them. Shoes should be below clean drinking water on the priority list of things to start a Twitter riot about.

Social media gives every person a voice, but I’m disgusted at how it’s being used right now. Instead of using tweets to promote real problems, our society uses them to complain about every little thing that offends them. Don’t get me wrong — blackface is a terrible form of racism that shouldn’t be tolerated.

But to get angry over shoes that clearly weren’t intended to portray that is a waste of resources. Our society does this daily — we sit around and search for things to find offensive. I’m tired of people looking for, and creating these “problems,” when there are real problems in the world.

I’ve been told that the world is changing, evolving into a more accepting and open-minded society.

However, people use Twitter to call out every single thing that displeases them. This call-out culture has proven to be very useful and far-reaching. And this can be a very positive thing, such as with the #MeToo movement.

But, because of its influence, call-out culture has began to work against us. I’m tired of this boy-who-cried-wolf scenario, where we freak out about every little thing that annoys us, which causes the major atrocities of our world to slip through the cracks.

That is why the crisis in Flint isn’t getting adequate media attention — people are devoting their attention to things like shoes or “controversial” celebrity outfits.It’s time to start using the media to focus on real issues such as Flint, or the children being incarcerated at the border.

For example, I don’t understand why, when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, our country chose to focus on the act of his kneeling, rather than the racial injustice he was trying to advocate against.

His protest did little to nothing for those suffering from racial injustice, because Twitter was more focused on the controversy of kneeling than it was on the racism and violence.

That protest could have been the catalyst for change, but our call-out culture got ahold of it, and the argument over the protest itself, another fake problem, overshadowed the actual problem, which was racial injustice.

I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and that people are free to choose what they care about. We as a society just need to choose better.