By: Daequan Danvers
Americans have watched the country erupt in protests, and looting has increased over the past few weeks. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities across the United States, to protest racism and police brutality after the murder of George Floyd. His murder sparked anger against racism as it is argued George Floyd died because of his skin color. Protesting is one thing, but breaking windows, burning property, and stealing goods, make some hesitant to throw full support behind protestors. Some get confused about the difference between protesting and looting, and the difference can be tricky at times.
In the past where peaceful protests haven’t created radical change, some people might feel that looting and vandalism are the only ways to make their voices heard. However, some looters are not affiliated with the social justice causes. Instead, they cause chaos and destruction for their own gains. This might be what’s happening in some videos of white people and radical groups breaking windows and ransacking businesses. Also, some people are looting stores that don’t tend to serve low-income minority neighborhoods, so they may be for the cause. However, some looters are low-income and struggling to survive, and use the opportunity to get things they normally cannot afford. Others, however, see looting as a form of empowerment and a way to reclaim dignity after decades of abuse at the hands of police and other authorities because of their skin color.
Protests sometimes lead to violence against protestors. When police use rubber bullets, flash bombs, and pepper spray on peaceful protestors, protestors then retaliate by looting stores. Police officers should focus on stopping looters, and not protestors. I recently saw a video of two New York police officers drove their cars into protestors. Looters and peaceful protesters are not the same people.
However, it’s tricky because some journalists excessively covering looting stories or interview looters, instead of the peaceful protesters. Unfortunately, they like to cover the negative things and highlight sensationalism, instead of reporting on the positive things. Some protestors may feel like they must throw something or break a window which is negative, just to receive attention from the media. It’s so sad. The reason for recent protests is due to another killing of a black man by a white police officer. To fully eliminate protesting or looting, you’d have to eliminate the conditions that make people upset enough to protest and loot.