It’s been a crazy week since the terrible murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota. Since then there’s been a major call for social reform in American and even in several western countries. People are coming out into the streets and demanding equality for African Americans at a level that is unprecedented compared to the past few years. Protests haven’t just been in major cities, but have extended to the suburban areas as well.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to participate in one of the protests in my city as well after finally having a day off from my night shifts at work. And my goal is to go to more and continue to support this cause. Last night the protest I was at had a certain energy that was in the air, it was an energy that was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions from the crowd. Everything from anger, to sadness, to hope. It was all felt through the thousands of people present at these protests. However, everyone their had the same goal in mind: to push the our current society into doing something about the systematic racism in our justice system and our culture as a whole.
Throughout different news outlets, it seems like different narratives are being created regarding the protests. Most of it seems to focus on the rioting and looting going on. As well the violent clashes between protestors and police officers. One thing I feel that needs to be pointed out is the lack of coverage from the peaceful protests, which vastly outnumber the ones that involve rioting. It’s like all we seem to be focused on are the people breaking into and setting fires to small businesses, or the officers who seem to be to be inciting violence themselves instead of keeping things under control. But this takes away from most of the people who are out protesting with goal of following proper order, and the officers who understand people have the right to protest and are allowing them to do so freely without letting things get out of hand.
In my personal opinion. Major shifts in pushing forward to a better future are very hard to accomplish when the methods of doing it are viewed in a negative light. These protests are doing great in shedding light on the major problem of inequality affecting African Americans, but it feels as if the message is being shadowed by the protests that devolve into riots on the side. And let me be clear, I understand the anger behind the rioting, and I understand that they’re currently happening because America has failed to listen to previous peaceful protests and allowed the killing of African Americans by policemen and racist whites to continue, but it’s very hard to bring about support when the media is getting people to start seeing these protests as opportunities for looters and anarchists to wreck havoc because of the destruction that some of the protests have caused. For everyone reading, I just want you know to know that this isn’t the norm, and that most protestors are doing just that, protesting for a better future. Please do not equate a protestor to a rioter.
As for society itself, I definitely do see major changes happening to our culture after all of this. Now, the importance of educating others about inequality is more prevalent than ever. Current times have also forced people to really examine their own personal biases that they aren’t consciously aware of and now they have the opportunity to try to fix them. This has been the turning point for western countries, and I believe that the world is watching and realizing how important this issue is. I choose to remain hopeful, despite the current events. I know that a brighter future is ahead of us, and it’ll be because of the collective effort of this generation and previous generations standing together to fight for what’s right.