On The Double Standard of Protest in America

No matter what form black people choose to protest in, it seems though we always face criticism from the public or violence from the police. Looking at images of white coronavirus protesters arguing for fair treatment only feels like a slap in the face after the death of Ahmaud Abrey and the outrage that followed it.

When Colin Kaepernick began kneeling for the national anthem to protest the injustices in America, Donald Trump exclaimed that all players kneeling should be fired. Kneeling was a peaceful protest, with its purpose to bring issues faced by black people to wider audiences and create conversations. Meanwhile, Donald Trump recently encouraged his supporters to protest a virus, putting thousands in danger.

How is it that when black people go to protest the daily injustices we face in America- such as the death of a person due to police brutality- we are treated so harshly? Images of the protests against the coronavirus lockdowns, where the majority of the protesters seem to be white, have been all over the internet.

In addition to the fact that lower-income and working-class Black and Latinx Americans have been hardest hit, the entire concept of people protesting during a virus right now feels extremely problematic. It has been a hard time for a lot of people- some people haven’t been able to work or have a source of income for weeks. Regardless, Donald Trump’s endorsement of these protests is doing enough much more harm than good.

Though there are videos of these protesters being aggressive towards law enforcement, not to mention being a danger to public health in the time of a pandemic, #BlackLivesMatter protests have certainly been shut down faster. What does the treatment of protesters reveal about whose voices America is willing to listen to?

After a white house official compared the coronavirus protesters to a “Modern-day Rosa Parks” I was done.

Image from Aljazeera.com, 2017

There’s a clear double standard in the way white versus black protesters are treated, and it only reaffirms something many black people in America have come to know: black people will be treated as dangerous or disrespectful no matter how, or what, we chose to protest.

As people protest not being able to leave their homes, It’s hard for me not to think of the Black Americans who feared going into public spaces simply because of the color of their skin. People can claim that discrimination has disappeared, but we still live in a country where a black man was killed when just taking a run around his neighborhood.

COVID-19 has yet again revealed inequalities in our society, and only time will tell if we use these revelations to point out problems and change them, or if we’ll just let the world slip back into how it was pre-pandemic.

credits: Image from Nytimes.com, 2019

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