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Why Does Social Media Care So Much About a Lion?

Photograph by Getty Images

My social media timelines have been filled with pictures of a lion the last few weeks, and the dentist who hunted him for sport. I had no idea what was going on with this lion but it seemed to be important to a lot of my online "friends." Clearly, some things happening in our world trump others, and while we are all entitled to share what we please, I often wonder what drives someone to share one thing versus the next.

I finally clicked to read all about this lion. I love animals and I don't want them to be endangered, let alone be killed for sport. As I read about this lion, all I could think about was how this animal, in a foreign country, was being mourned by so many. Meanwhile, here in our own country, we have tragedies increasing among black Americans. Still, I didn't see people as inclined to share and speak up about those racial injustices.

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I'll be the first to admit that I don't always speak up and share tragedies. I hesitate to share things more than I should. Perhaps, these same people I'm friends with are moved to share how they feel when it's not relatable. My emotions stop me because I take situations personally. But as the Latina wife to a black man in America, and as a mother to two mixed-heritage kids, I realized I need to change my actions.

I wish more people had felt this need to find justice when Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, VonDerrit Myers Jr., and Sandra Bland — just to name a few — were murdered. When are we going to be moved to fight for justice? Is it not relatable enough?

As more updates on the lion's death were shared, I was surprised how so many people wanted to find its killer and punish him. The need to find justice for this animal was so important to its mourners.

I wish more people had felt this need to find justice when Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, VonDerrit Myers Jr., and Sandra Bland — just to name a few — were murdered. When are we going to be moved to fight for justice? Is it not relatable enough? Do we not feel inclined to punish their murderers too?

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I find myself discussing these tragedies with my friends and my husband. I often wonder if I am also a part of the problem for not using my social platforms to help bring awareness and a call for justice to these issues here in our own community.

I want there to be change and open discussions. I want people to feel as angry and hurt about minorities and women being killed as they do for that lion. I personally refuse to mention the lion by name in my discussions because there are far more important names to be remembered.

If we shared just as many updates as the lion's death about African-American and Latino tragedies, I know there can be a change. Enough people would feel the discomfort. People would come together for justice. In my reality, I can't pretend a lion's death matters because in my home, I have to worry about my husband coming home safe every day — and how to explain to my children in case one day he doesn't.

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Explore More: race, social networks, multicultural, biracial, mamá a mamá, Latina Mom
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