New York, NY—In the midst of COVID-19, people have been outraged about both the police brutality against Black people and about the looting that sometimes has occurred in some areas. Protests have happened all over the country and have had an impact, but some say certain people have been using these protests for their own benefit, not for the country.
Critics think that the protesters and others are using it as an opportunity to loot. But many people feel that critics are clumping the protesters and looters together, overly focusing on the looting and judging the impact of the protests unfairly. “I think it’s a double standard to judge the protestors by the looters, but not to judge the police by the murderers,” Ethan, a Writopia instructor says. He participated and demonstrated in protests around New York City. He says that some stores were taking precautions against potential looting. “I saw when we were walking down to midtown, there were shops that were all boarded up,” but that’s a small part of the story.
“The protests have been incredibly moving and beautiful expressions of solidarity. There were white people, Black people, brown people, and there were speakers, and the general vibe of it was deeply moving and very peaceful,” he shared.
However, he isn’t sure if the protests will lead to the country erasing its racial discrimination in the near future. “I think we can one day, but I don’t think it will happen that fast because it is so deeply engraved in our society.”
Emily Klein, a professor at Montclair State University agrees. “I didn’t see any people looting. The people who spoke at the protests talked a lot about how the protests should be peaceful and had to be responsible for all the young people that were there, too.” In her experience, the protests were powerful and moving, and the majority of the protestors were not engaged in looting or violence of any kind.
She says that some people were slightly misinformed about the protests. She stressed about how the protests she attended were peaceful. “In Nyack the protests were powerful. It was really led by young people and people of color. I thought that it was really inspiring to see young people have their voices heard as they expressed what they wanted.” There were babies, young people, all showing their support. Klein thinks that “people are already listening to the protesters and we have to follow it up with really concrete solutions.”
The protests were peaceful, and the police were peaceful, and the protesters were peaceful. Look at the trees, not at the forest.