a form of allyship.
when an individual or group of power/majority/privilege (e.g., white, male, abled, unqueer, etc) creates a public display in the name of 'allyship,' serving only themselves and not the group they claim to support, often to receive praise and attention, without taking critical action to dismantle the systems of harm.
allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the 'ally,' it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away from the systems of power that oppress.
performative allyship, corporate blackface, non-optical allyship
Optical allyship detracts from the stories of the oppressed and the impact that oppression has on them in favour of the stories of the oppressors and their intent to help. Optical allyship centres the perspectives of the oppressor. The cost of optical allyship can also be that the stories of the oppressed people are appropriated, watered down, and inaccurately retold by people who should not be telling those stories. For example, in #BlackOutTuesday, many rushed to publicly respond without understanding the intent which "derailed the conversation."