“Protests Aren’t An Effective Method Of Change,” Says Student Thinks About Protests Sometimes
Iowa City protests have prompted me to have tough conversations with friends, educate myself on the Black Lives Matter movement, and question the reaches of police authority in the United States, but beyond that, these protests have been absolutely pointless.
Look, I think that the police should stop getting away with the murder of black civilians, but is this really how we want to go about it? By demanding it? By signing online petitions and donating (which is on my to do list, I just keep forgetting), we can forge the way to maybe get the ball rolling on discussing some kind of change. Protests simply aren’t effective. For me personally, all they did was inspire me to write this op-ed.
First of all, vandalism is completely unnecessary. Spray painting messages that say “Black Lives Matter” where everyone in the city can see it? Or vulgar phrases like “Fuck cops?” Think about it. Children are going to see that, and they might end up having a serious conversation with their parents about police brutality. Plus, someone is going to have to clean all that up the next day. It’s inconsiderate, and all it does is force business owners and all who walk by it to ponder social injustice.
Vandalism always turns into looting and violence. By doing this, protestors are making totally unrealistic demands, like, “if you don’t stop killing black people, we’re going to break this window.” Broken windows send the wrong message of fury and frustration with current circumstances. If we are trying to get people on our side, why are we showing anger? All it does is inspire other angry people!
At the end of the day, these protests aren’t enacting any real change. They’re trying to be trendy and go with the crowd. In reality, it’s just annoying. Especially when every single person I know is sharing video footage of them on Twitter. Like, it’s all I see when I go online. Even my mom, who doesn’t know a lot about George Floyd’s death, has been posting about it. When are we going to stop this useless tactic and start raising some real awareness?
If these protestors really wanted to make a difference, they would contact their Senators. I emailed my Senator yesterday, and got an automatic response three seconds later with no follow up. That is the American way.
Ever since these protests started, I (along with the rest of America) have been observing, listening, engaging, and getting angry about police violence. And after doing all these things for well-over over a week, I have come to the conclusion that they just don’t work for me, and that an email chain is probably the way to go.