July 25, 2021

Teens on TikTok are exposing a generational rift between parents and kids over how they treat Black Lives Matter protests

Social media is awash with earnest shows of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The best of these posts have been materially useful to the cause. Others, less so. But on TikTok, Gen Z is modeling the most important tenet of allyship: taking it upon yourself to research, point out, and confront racism, especially when it feels risky or uncomfortable to do so.

Fifteen-year-old Izabella, for example, documented her family’s frustrating response to George Floyd’s killing while in police custody, in a TikTok with more than 1.5 million views.

“I literally hate my family so much,” Izabella said, eyes wet from crying. “It’s just. They just tried to argue with me that George Floyd — like, they just tried to tell me that he deserved that ’cause he did something wrong, and that it was okay. That is not okay. And it’s just making me so upset. I don’t know. I do not wanna live here. I hate livin’ in Louisiana. I hate livin’ around these racist f-cks. Like, I just wanna leave.”

In two days, her TikTok following went from roughly 50 to 17,000 people. After picking up traction on the platform, her video eventually landed on Twitter when culture critic Safy-Hallan Farah shared it.

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