October 6, 2022

Sydney | Courtesy of Alfred Marroquin
If you are a fan of the highly accredited HBO drama “Euphoria”, you might have come across the recent Sydney Sweeney Blue Lives Matter controversy which has blown up across multiple social media platforms in the past few weeks. 
TikTok’s “For You” pages and Twitter’s timelines have been flooded with memes, threads and other forms of social media discourse being fired up in reaction to an Instagram post that featured Sydney Sweeney—who plays Cassie in the HBO show—at a family gathering in which a guest in the background of Sweeney’s mother’s 60th birthday party was wearing a Blue Lives Matter Shirt. Though this controversy stems from something as minuscule as a t-shirt in the background of an Instagram post, Sweeney needs to understand her influential role and be more careful of what is included in her posts in the future. 
Though Sweeney had no intention of sparking controversy from the image, nowadays everything posted on the internet is open for public debate and discourse in the comment section. Criticism is to be expected for any form of media released to the public. The Blue Lives Matter flag was formed in counter-protest to the Black Lives Matter movement and has been adopted by right-wing extremist groups. It is completely warranted for viewers of the post to have a heated reaction to the inclusion of the Blue Lives Matter shirt. It is only natural for people to raise an eyebrow in response to seeing this symbol on Sweeney’s Instagram. 
Due to the rise of political discourse on TikTok in the past two years, there has been a rise of identity politics that coin symbols as right or left leaning, such as the Blue Lives Matter imagery becoming a symbol of the right, and the LGBTQIA+ flag standing as a symbol of the left. Identity politics is harmful because it lacks nuance; politics are not black and white. One can be supportive of both Democratic leaning and Republican leaning policies without owing total allegiance to one party.
TikTok makes it easy to block content you do not want to see by blocking creators and clicking on the “not interested” button, which will remove all related videos from your feed. Depending on what side of the political spectrum you lean towards, you can make it possible to only consume media from your desired party. This omits all opposing opinions and ideas, making it difficult to consume balanced media. With that said, it is crucial to be open to all forms of media so you can form an opinion on an issue for yourself.   
Identity politics also lack an aspect of critical thinking skills and opinion building- voting just based on identity makes it difficult to call out and hold candidates accountable, especially if you have similar identities. However, due to the increasing polarization of American politics stemming from the Trump presidency, political discourse has shifted to black or white, which negates nuance and does not represent how people decide what policies and agendas are important to them.  
Sweeney has not been very outspoken about her political views, and communities on the internet have already deemed her cancelable and demanded a response about the post. “An innocent celebration for my mom’s milestone 60th birthday has turned into an absurd political statement, which was not the intention. Please stop making assumptions,” Sweeney tweeted.  
Sweeney has since taken the photo down, but when one lives the life of a television star, everything you release into the world will be critiqued and picked at by internet users looking for any trace of something they can use against you.
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