Syerra’s Square: Protests and riots, not the same thing

Friday, marked a day in history in which President Trump was officially inaugurated into office. Shortly thereafter all over the country there were protests, marches, and other demonstrations against this.

I want to lead this article by stating my intention is to be impartial; this isn’t about Trump, Hillary, or otherwise. Instead I want to direct attention to the media, specifically.

I find it to be reckless, dangerous even, to group together protestors and rioters. Thousands peacefully marched, without any incidents of violence; however, the mass media tends to focus its attention on the rioters, and makes bold claims that group the two together.

For example, Richard Spencer, a neo-Nazi, was attacked on camera by a rioter, but numerous news outlets have labeled this attacker as a protestor.

These subtle language differences highly influence what it is we, as the consumers, think of protestors. To make matters worse, some encourage these acts of violence, claiming that to hurt someone who promotes hate speech is vindicated.

This sort of thinking is short-sighted. It may feel satisfactory to strike out against those who try to drive us apart, but it only harms further action. It confirms to the public watching through a flawed medium that the right to protest is childish or dangerous.

Throughout our history we have enjoyed the right to speak as we want, and to protest what we do not believe in, but by perpetuating this stigma that protestors are inherently violent, we further encourage our own silence. For the past week all I’ve seen on Facebook are people trying to shut down these protests out of fear of them becoming violent; PROTESTS are not violent, riots are. And riots have no business anywhere in our mature, progressive society.

We should be proud of the men and women that stepped forward to voice their concerns and beliefs, because they are practicing their right to do so.

When I see such a collective mass of people all operating together, I don’t see people “throwing a tantrum” or endangering the public, I see people united in hope striving to make their own voices heard.

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