Protests have a purpose that people shouldn’t brush off
From the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights Movement, protests have riddled American history with the intent to invoke the masses.
Lately, discourse in the U.S. seems to have skyrocketed with opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Black Lives Matter Movement and, most recently, Donald Trump being elected as the president.
These instances represent an exercise of our First Amendment rights. Why is it, then, that these utterances of concern to some people are labeled as childish outbursts with no merit?
Is it the disruption that makes those opposed to protesting uncomfortable, or is it because they aren’t in agreement with the protesters’ viewpoint? In any case, the respect for others’ opinions seem to have been discarded.
Those challenging the protesters’ rights claim that their fears of President-elect Trump and his supporters are invalid.
Trump supporters view the distress of people opposing him as juvenile outbursts simply because their candidates lost. This couldn’t be more wrong.
Minorities as well as religious and social groups feel uneasy about the safety of their loved ones and themselves due to the hateful demonstrations across the nation since the election.
When people are worried for their well-being and vocalize this, their actions are written off as pointless complaining. The promise of equality within the U.S. has obviously been romanticized.
Since the election, there has been a 6 percent increase in hate crimes directed toward Muslims, Latinos, members of the LGBT+ community and even those who simply don’t support Trump. Rejecting the concerns of these groups broadcasts the message that acts of violence are OK and accepted.
Protests are taking on many forms, but the media seem to acknowledge the violent ones. These aren’t the only kind of rebellion against the hatred.
While violence is not the best way to handle the situation, the people turning to it feel that it is the last resort. Since peaceful protests are silenced and ignored, people turn to the more aggressive kind to draw additional attention.
Of course, fighting violence with violence is not an answer, but trying to understand the reasons for the protesting is a step toward removing the rioting.
Due to the lack of attention, these situations will only grow in frequency and severity. The protesters aren’t simply rejecting Trump — they are declaring that they will not tolerate what he and the majority of his supporters seem to stand for.
Nothing has ever changed through silence. Protesting inappropriate behavior, inequality and inhumane actions against minorities is the right step in correcting a major problem in the nation.
Opinion columnist Katie Santana is a graphic design sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]